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Home > Our City > Buffalo My City > Buffalo My City Watercolors > 06-A Coffee Rich (1990)

06-A Coffee Rich (1990)

Narrative by - David M. Rote
(Narratives are copyrighted)

The Scott Street building now bearing the name of Coffee Rich was the former home of Fairmont Creamery Company which opened there in the 1920's across the street from Booth Fisheries, purveyors of harvests from the sea. Both these wholesale distributors were located adjacent to the one time home of the Elk Street Market, founded in 1845 and the largest wholesale market in the city of Buffalo. Currently the building is home to Arctic Freezer Company, a public refrigeration company, which shares warehousing facilities with Rich Products.

For much of Buffalo's life, the public market was an integral hub of activities for its citizens and at the turn of the century, in addition to the Elk Street Market, there was the Washington Street Market, the largest retail market in the city, as well as the Clinton Market and the Broadway Market on the East Side. Only the Broadway Market, opened in 1888, remains.

The old Elk Street Market gave way to New York Central's nearby Elk Market Terminal which still stands to the east of the Coffee Rich/Arctic Freezer building and the activities at the terminal were, in time, largely superseded by the Niagara Frontier Food Terminal on Buffalo's East Side. In 1984, the Downtown Buffalo Management Corporation reinstituted the tradition of the outdoor market with the opening of the Downtown Country Market, which sets up along Main Street every Thursday during the summer and fall months.

The name of Rich Products is synonymous with the city of Buffalo. In 1935, Robert E. Rich, Sr. bought the Wilber Farms Dairy and guided it, along with the Jones Rich Dairy, into becoming the largest privately held milk producer in the country. The company has steadily grown and charted many new innovative directions in the frozen foods industry, beginning in 1945 with a non-dairy whipped topping. Coffee Rich, a non-dairy creamer, was introduced in 1961 and became a mainstay of the company's line of products. In 1988, a state of the art research center was completed and opened as The Rich Renaissance Niagara. The 250,000 sq. ft. complex on Niagara Street stretches over the site of the former E. R. Thomas Motor Company and the Curtiss Aeroplane Company and includes a 3/4 acre atrium, complete with a miniature of Niagara Falls.