A British company that makes sun-protecting swimwear chose the City of Tonawanda as its U.S. address and warehouse site for mailing to its American customers.
"What we can do is get a faster service for people overnight," said Paul Sanders, chief financial officer for the Lion in the Sun company in a phone conversation from Guildford, England.
Until the local arrangements with its liaison, the Buffalo Marketing Group, started working last month, the company founded in 1999 had been mailing its sun-blocking swimsuits, shirts and jackets to U.S. customers from England. It used to be that overseas shipping times couldn't be predicted. "We'd always have to say, 'We don't really know,' " said Sanders. Now he can offer overnight delivery.
To find his U.S. base, he looked online for border-state companies that could help. He considered places in Michigan and Wisconsin, before choosing Tonawanda. It was close to Toronto, where he knows people, and there was a company that offered the services he needed.
The Tonawanda-based Buffalo Marketing Group built his U.S. Web site -- www.lioninthesunusa.com -- and takes care of the warehousing and shipping. "It was just seamless. We got the Web site. We got the shipping. Everything," said Sanders.
The regional economic development group Buffalo Niagara Enterprise helped Sanders with legal and logistical details, among other things. To the BNE, the deal is a sign of more to come. Western New York's border location is alluring, said David Griggs, the BNE business development officer who worked with Sanders.
"It's a European company that's seen the logistical value of Buffalo," he said.