The sweet smell of oats cooking is familiar to all who work or visit near the General Mills plant on the city's watefront at the mouth of the Buffalo River. For 109 years the plant has been grinding flour and, for much of that time, making Cheerios and other cereals.
The reason it started here is obvious. Lake freighters bringing grain from the midwest had to off-load in Buffalo because there was no way around Niagara Falls - except the slow-going, low-freight Erie Barge Canal. Flour and cereal made here could be easily shipped by rail or truck.
But why has it remained here? Modern plants have been built elsewhere, and the grain could be milled closer to the farms. The answer: the people. There are third-generation workers who love the plant and know its value to the city. They have helped keep it efficient and modern. Plant manager David Tincher credits the labor force with making the plant among the best in the General Mills family.
The sweet smell of a proud tradition.
- Grove Potter