Voices of Niagara: Joe Hotchkiss, Powercity Eatery

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Joe Hotchkiss, one of three owners of the Powercity Eatery, Third Street, Niagara Falls, New York, interviewed on 10th April, 2018 © Alan Gignoux

Powercity Eatery is located on Third Street, an up and coming street with a mix of cafes, bars and restaurants founded by young entrepreneurs hoping to revitalize the downtown tourist district of Niagara Falls, New York.

“We are Power City Eatery.  We are a New York style eatery and café.  We serve fresh deli sandwiches, we have espresso-based drinks, lates, cappuccinos, things like that.  The people that come in here are very happy to have us here.  We have a nice, large space for people to get together for lunch.  The people that live here deserve good quality food and that’s what we’re doing.  We’re making as much as we can from scratch.  And we’re also giving the community something different that they might not have experienced before.  There’s a lot of pizza places and things like that – we are giving them home made pastrami, fresh bread, home-made bread, we’re giving them good, European-style coffee…

I moved up here, because I was stationed in the Coast Guard, so I lived just north of here for a few years, I met my wife, who worked about 10 minutes away  and I went to school right up the street, at Niagara University, and once I graduated we decided to make this our home.  We purchased a home, we chose this area to open our business.

I think that the people that live here see what this city has to offer, they love the Falls, they love the history of Niagara Falls, the architecture of this city is beautiful.  It’s heart-breaking to see things boarded up, but I think that also gives hope for new growth, that I think the people here are ready for, ready to see.  I would not have picked anywhere else to start up a business.  A lot of people asked us, why didn’t we choose Lewiston, which is a happening area right now, why didn’t we choose Buffalo…  I think that the people wanted this so badly, this little meeting place that provides the things that we have.  I think we got it right, and while the numbers might not show right away, I think, potentially, this space, this business, could be a rock for growth through the city.  It’s made quite a few strides since I’ve been living here.  New businesses have popped up –  apart from myself, there’s a few restaurants, Wine on Third, Third Street Retreat.

The Falls to me represent hope and inspiration.  They’re inspiring to me because of all the people that come here, from different countries, to see the Falls – I hear those stories every day, and it never gets old.  And going and actually seeing the Falls yourself, that will never get old, it’s an amazing experience.  The town itself, the city, to me, represents strength and it’s a large bond that people have here.  Everybody wants to see this place become successful, and it’s just a matter of time before it happens.”

This is an extract.  The full interview will soon be available on video on You Tube.

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