Better Buffalo Fund project will draw more people to the iconic location
Empire State Development on Thursday announced the start of restoration of Parkside Candy Shoppe, which has been located at the corner of Main Street and West Winspear since 1927. The project was awarded a $125,000 Better Buffalo Fund grant through the University District Community Development Association (UDCDA) by Empire State Development and New York State Homes and Community Renewal as part of the "Buffalo Billion" initiative.
Parkside Candy's restoration is part of round one of the Better Buffalo Fund, which awarded $11.7 million in incentives to 21 projects. The second round was announced in 2016, awarding more than $9 million for 14 projects. Together, these will contribute to the renovation of more than 450 residential units and more than 190,000 square-feet of storefront and commercial space, while leveraging over $223 million in private investment.
"The restoration of the iconic Parkside Candy in Buffalo, a multigeneration family-owned and operated business, is an incredible morale boost for the people that grew up eating their delicious treats, like my personal favorite sponge candy," Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said. "Parkside Candy has been a rich part of Buffalo's history for 90 years and, when it is restored to its original glory, will be reminiscent of the independent candy stores that flourished in American cities during that era - signaling the return of a strong and vibrant city center."
As one of the oldest continuously operating small businesses in the neighborhood, the building dates back to 1925 and was designed by local architect G. Morton Wolfe. Parkside Candy was recently listed on the National Register of Historic Places and will be utilizing historic tax credits as part of the renovation project. Originally owned by the Kaiser family, the retail store and adjacent factory building were built as the business outgrew its original space in the Parkside neighborhood. The current owner, Philip Buffamonte, purchased the business in 1981.
Buffamonte said, "Parkside Candy is about to get a makeover that will return the store to its original grandeur. Our revitalized candy shop will certainly excite our many longtime patrons and hopefully attract an entire new group of customers. The reinvented national historic landmark will allow the community to purchase our delicious chocolates and relax in our parlor to enjoy lunch and ice cream. We offer a big thank you to Gov. Cuomo and the Better Buffalo Fund for helping make this happen."
Sutton Architecture has been working with the UDCDA to restore Parkside Candy to its original grand style.
"We are very excited to be a part of this historical rejuvenation," said Dean Sutton of Sutton Architecture. "Work is slated to begin in January and will include painting and plaster restoration as well as new checkboard flooring in the candy shop."
Two upstairs apartments will be completely remodeled with updated bathrooms and kitchens, creating additional high-end units along the Main Street corridor. Most visibly, exterior work will include cleaning, repairing and repointing brick and masonry, installation of new retractable awnings, and the in-kind replacement of the store's iconic neon sign, which has been dark for many years."
Parkside Candy is a point of pride in the area with its rich culinary history. With the revitalization of the business, there is hope the number of customers will significantly increase. Parkside Candy currently employs 36 people, who work as candy makers, customer service agents, waitresses, mechanics and shipping employees. This project will maintain and support current employment.
ESD President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "This project will not only bring economic growth, but will bring to light a rich history of candy-making in this Buffalo neighborhood."
James S. Rubin, commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal, said, "Gov. Cuomo's Better Buffalo Fund is making neighborhoods more vibrant and economically strong. The restoration of Parkside Candy will bring this iconic shop back to its former glory, while creating new opportunities for residents and businesses to enjoy all Buffalo has to offer."
Mayor Byron W. Brown said, "It's exciting to see this work begin at Parkside Candy through the Better Buffalo Fund. This fund, which is part of the governor's 'Buffalo Billion,' is exclusively focused on new development and reinvestment that will directly strengthen our city's neighborhood businesses situated along transit corridors. This is just one of more than 20 sites, including nine on Buffalo's East Side, which are benefitting from this great program."
New York State Sen. Tim Kennedy said, "Parkside Candy Shoppe is part of the fabric of our city, and with this investment New York state is underscoring its commitment to not only build a new Buffalo, but to restore the historic Buffalo that once was. I thank the governor for recognizing the greater impact this will have on small businesses and the surrounding neighborhood, and I look forward to visiting the shoppe again once it is renewed to its fullest potential."
Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, "The Parkside Candy Shoppe is a historic mainstay along Main Street and is truly one of a kind. The big projects are great, but the Better Buffalo Fund has helped bring attention back to commercial corridors and neighborhoods all over the city. Today's announcement at the Parkside Candy Shoppe on Main Street highlights the state's investment along Main Street, both literally and figuratively. I thank Gov. Cuomo and the University District Community Development Association on making today a reality."
For more information about Parkside Candy, visit https://parksidecandy.com/.
ESD is New York's chief economic development agency. It's mission is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the state and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York.