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Part 1: Friends Find Their Way Back to Buffalo

Mar 9, 2021 Posted by Greg Pokriki

Kate, Stacey, and Andy became friends when they attended Lancaster High School in Western New York. But after graduating high school, they each went off to different colleges. And from there, they again had different plans in mind.

This is the story of their paths, their journeys away from Buffalo, and (spoiler alert) how they made their way back.


After Lancaster High, Kate attended Buffalo State College, for both her bachelor’s and master’s degree. After graduating, she decided to make a change. She had family on the West Coast and was yearning for warm weather. So, in packed car and with another friend making the move, she was off to Los Angeles.
She first took a position at USC as an advisor and then transitioned into recruitment at a few companies. She explored restaurants and entertainment in one of America’s biggest cities. She met her now husband, JR, who was born and raised in Los Angeles.

But after about 5 years on the West Coast, she was getting the itch to come back home. The couple would visit Western New York every so often for holidays, but missed the full experience. So, Kate began looking, only passively, sometimes dream-scrolling through job boards and Zillow.

Until one day, she scrolled upon an Instagram advertisement for a Virtually Be in Buffalo Power Hour. The event offered Buffalo expats across the country an opportunity to re-acquaint themselves with their hometown – hearing local bands, making cocktail recipes from local mixologists, learning of job opportunities from local executives, and much more. She decided to register for the event and follow Be in Buffalo on social media. She encouraged some friends of hers to attend as well. She even won a trivia question and subsequent Buffalo gift basket. The experience expedited her search.

Kate“All these things just started to fall into place,” Kate said.

She reached out to the Be in Buffalo team to send her thanks for putting on the event, which led to a resume exchange and connections to local hiring companies. One of those was Acara Solutions, where she was able to land a job as a Recruitment Specialist.

“The company is the perfect blend of everything I was looking for,” Kate said.

Even her husband, who had only been to Buffalo on a handful of holiday visits, landed an interview at Dunn Tire for a management position and was offered the job within the span of only a few days.

The couple moved back to Buffalo in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was reminded by and my husband was surprised by just how friendly people are,” Kate said. “These big cities have a ‘Put your head down and grind, no niceties in the stores’ type attitude. And Buffalo is so different.”

The couple now rents a home in Snyder, just down the road from reunited friends Stacey and Andy…

Read Stacey and Andy’s story in Part 2 here.

About the Author - Greg Pokriki is the Be in Buffalo & Public Relations Specialist at Invest Buffalo Niagara. Greg is passionate about watching baseball and building a better Buffalo for all.