Buffalo businesses Leslie’s Boutique and Anderson’s Flower Shop are hosting weekly holiday pop-up events beginning Friday, Nov. 13, to promote businesses on Fillmore Avenue.
Leslie’s Boutique owner Leslie Thomas is a graduate of the Community Action Organization of WNY’s (CAO) business development workshop series. She opened her boutique in 2017 at 1474 Fillmore Ave. Leslie’s Boutique sells new and used clothing for men, women and children. On Friday, she will have a sale on winter items such as gloves, hats, coats and boots.
Thomas owns the building she operates her business out of on Fillmore, and leases the space next door at 1476 Fillmore to Darren Anderson, owner of Andersons’s Flower Shop. Anderson will have a sale on roses and houseplants.
“CAO’s business development workshops helped me reach my dreams of owning my own business,” Thomas said. “CAO was with me every step of the way by educating me on personal and business financials, business loans, grants and even business plan development. I am proud of our community and the continued transformation.”
CAO’s business development workshop series came to fruition after the organization was awarded a grant in 2015 to transform the MLK business district to create a more viable, walkable and aesthetically pleasing area. The workshops have been successful, with more than 300 attendees and 60 graduates over the past few years, and news businesses launched.
Thomas was provided signage for her business thanks to the Buffalo Main Street Initiative.
CAO CEO L. Nathan Hare said he wants to promote the success stories of Buffalo residents who graduated from the workshop series, and the empowerment entrepreneurship has in the MLK district.
“Our business development workshop series has helped so many individuals gain confidence to achieve entrepreneurship,” Hare said. “The facade improvements and business activity is incredible, because it is transforming Fillmore Avenue. These individuals are reaching goals they never thought were possible, and are able to work for themselves, hire family members and put business back into the community they live in.”
CAO Business Development Director Pamela James has wanted to highlight the work ethic of their students.
“We teach our business development participants to believe in their dreams and to reach beyond the stars,” she said.
The series offers a holistic approach to help aspiring entrepreneurs get to where they want to be. By working with CAO and the Masten Resource Center, workshop participants have access to Wi-Fi, computers, meeting space, child care and even food pantries so they can prioritize their business planning.
2020’s business development workshop series students will graduate Dec. 14. Learn more at https://caowny.org/business-development/.
Schedule for holiday pop-up events:
•Nov. 13, from 1-6 p.m.
•Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
•Nov. 27, all-day online event
•Dec. 4, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
1371 Fillmore Ave., Buffalo
•Dec. 11, all-day online event
•Dec. 18, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Community Action Organization of WNY was designated in 1965 as the official antipoverty agency for Erie County with a mission to serve the unmet needs of the low-income populations. Today, CAO serves more than 50,000 families and individuals within Erie and Niagara counties through a variety of programs and services. Visit caowny.org for more information.