What's next? 716 could soon have company

North American Numbering Plan says phone numbers for area code could run out in 2024
The North American Numbering Plan says the numbers for the 716 area code could be exhausted come 2024. What could happen to the legacy of that area code?
Photo credit WBEN Photo

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) The North American Numbering Plan says the numbers for the 716 area code could be exhausted come 2024. What could happen to the legacy of that area code?

Pending regulatory approval, the solution may be a new area code to accompany the current 716 code. As for the 716 identity, Nathan Mroz has noticed that for years as he owns the BFLO Store. He says he's seen requests for 716-related merchandise. "We used to have just a few things like some pillows, and we even did a 716 hat, just to see how it went. And I was really surprised how much people liked it, because it really comes down to it's not just the 716 area code that makes Buffalo proud," says Mroz. He adds people who have moved out of WNY keep the 716 area code on their cell phones.

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Mroz says the news of a possible new area code caught him by surprise, but he doesn't expect any change in his ability to sell 716 merchandise. He also believes Buffalo will embrace change more easily.

"I think in the past Buffalo, at least in the past few decades, sometimes change comes hard. But the city has embraced a lot of change recently," says Mroz. He also believes a new area code could represent Buffalo's future. "We've had the 716, since the 60s, and that also was a time of major decline. Also, I don't see why maybe a new area code might be a symbol of really just exciting things to come. And perhaps even a symbolic gesture of, you know, the new Buffalo."

Mroz says if there's a new area code, he sees a possibility of marketing both. "I could see us doing some brand new apparel, and some other items that might be good for business. Maybe it's the the new area code and the old area code on a t shirt or something like that," ponders Mroz. He says he could even designate a brand new section of the store dedicated to the new area code. He adds you might see some vintage 716 apparel.

The 585 area code, which includes Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming Counties was created in the 1990s.