Within the first two years of the financial crisis that ended in the 2000s, teachers Jason Wulf and his business partner, Erik Bernardi, opened up an ice cream shop in Lockport.
"I think that people would treat themselves with our ice cream during the time that they didn't have a lot of money," Wulf said. After opening a small shop in 2007 and moving to their current location on Canal Street in 2009, the business boomed instead of crumpled.
"Erik and I always joked we said wow if you can do well now, maybe when the recession is gone, we can do even better and it kind of has done that."
Lake Effect sells everything from cones to milkshakes to sundaes. Wulf added that they always try to add something new to the menu that boasts over 25 flavors.
In the past year, the shop has expanded to North Buffalo, adding a second location on Hertel avenue. They've also opened their own manufacturing center a few steps away from their shop in Lockport. You can even catch a few of their classic flavors in Wegmans.
"It's kind of been like a snowball that we luckily pushed at the right time even though it didn't feel like it."
Dottie Gallagher-Cohen of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership said businesses like Lake Effect helped small towns bounce back after the recession. Although Buffalo saw a decline in population and wages pre-recession, the Partnership said 10 years later, the population is stabilizing along with wages.
"The recession was actually a friend to the Buffalo region believe it or not," Gallagher-Cohen said.