Small business incubator will create up to 30 new jobs, provide opportunities for economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs
√ Bazaar will open to the public on Oct. 31 with grand-opening celebration
√ Photos of new West Side Bazaar available here
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the reopening of the popular West Side Bazaar at its new, expanded location at 1432 Niagara St., Buffalo.
Her team said, “The new and significantly expanded West Side Bazaar, operated by the Westminster Economic Development Initiative, provides space for dozens of food, retail and professional services businesses, in addition to office and classroom space, test rental kitchens, and a full-service bar and event space. A fixture on Buffalo’s west side, the bazaar has been a key source of employment and opportunity for dozens of local business owners, including women, minorities, refugees, immigrants, and others who do not qualify for support from traditional banking and financial institutions.”
The bazaar will open to the public with grand-opening celebration from Oct. 31 to Nov. 4.
“The West Side Bazaar has long been a testament to the diversity of this community and the wide variety of foods, cultures and products that make Buffalo so special,” Hochul said. “With this new location in a beautifully renovated historic building, we are creating opportunities for even more budding entrepreneurs to turn the businesses of their dreams into a reality, and I look forward to visiting and meeting the vendors who are helping to transform Niagara Street into a vibrant commercial district.”
Hochul’s team said, “The bazaar is a one-of-a-kind small business incubator supporting entrepreneurs on their path to becoming successful business owners with services like microloans and technical business assistance. The renovation of a historic 16,000-square-foot vacant building provides space for 24 restaurants, retail and professional services businesses. It also includes office space for WEDI, test and rental kitchens for independent chefs, classrooms, and a stage and bar for events with seating for 200-plus patrons. West Side Bazaar’s new location is expected to incubate approximately 20 small businesses initially, with room to house more in years to come. To date, the West Side Bazaar has incubated more than 45 small businesses.
The 18 new businesses located at the West Side Bazaar’s new location include:
√ Egyptian Bites
√ William’s Kitchen Korean Comfort Food
√ Phyu Thein (Malaysian)
√ Ramree Corp. (Burmese)
√ Millions Tin (Sushi)
√ Orso Nero Pizza (Italian)
√ Malkia and Co. (Central African and Congolese)
√ Bamboo Ridge (Vietnamese)
Food Retail Entrepreneurs
√ Authentic Turkish Café
√ Manchester Place Baking Co. (pies, brownies, cookies, cakes)
√ Citygate Market (African food products)
√ Bubble Tea & Smoothie Bar
Other occupants include:
√ Honey Bee's Driving School
√ One vendor booth for pop-ups
√ One commissary kitchen for independent chefs
√ Mental health councilors Elisabeth Burn LMHC & Danielle Prester LMHC
Four West Side Bazaar businesses from the former bazaar on Grant Street and three new businesses will remain at the downtown bazaar, in the popular Theatre District, located at 617 Main St.
WEDI Executive Director Carolynn Welch said, “Providing this new, five-times-larger space where more entrepreneurs can launch and build economic security for their families is the fulfillment of WEDI’s mission to eliminate barriers to systemic economic equity to create a Western New York where all may thrive. The board, campaign steering committee and its leadership and the WEDI staff are grateful for the tremendous show of support for our organization and our business incubators. We are grateful for the banking and financial institutions, foundations and philanthropic organizations both private and nonprofit, federal, state and county government, and community-minded individuals who pledged and donated to the West Side Bazaar capital campaign.”
WEDI’s economic feasibility study for the new bazaar projects a significant economic impact through direct and indirect spending, estimated at approximately $34 million over five years, and perhaps as many as 250,000 visitors annually. Hochul’s team noted the bazaar will also “create 25 to 30 new jobs, contribute to the vibrancy and walkability of the west side community, and increase sales for area businesses.”
CJS Architects, a firm well-known for its adaptive reuse projects, designed the new home for the West Side Bazaar on Niagara Street. The two-story brick building was constructed in 1910 and functioned as a gin mill during prohibition. The transformation includes large-windowed garage-style doors, preserved historic glass block windows on both floors, and a two-story sky-lit atrium and a reclaimed gym floor wood center staircase.
Founded by WEDI on Grant Street in 2011, the West Side Bazaar small business incubator quickly became a popular shopping and dining destination for locals and tourists searching for unique food and retail opportunities.
WEDI received an anchor gift of $1.5 million from KeyBank in partnership with the First Niagara Foundation, $1 million from the Ralph J. Wilson Jr. Foundation, $950,000 secured by Congressman Brian Higgins from the U.S. Small Business Administration, and $925,000 from the Erie County Department of Environment & Planning. The John R. Oishei Foundation and Bank of America have each awarded the project $500,000; M&T Charitable Foundation has pledged $350,000; and Bank of America has given $250,000. Empire State Development, through the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, awarded capital grant funding totaling $539,187. The bazaar also received a round 5 Better Buffalo Fund Buffalo Main Streets Initiative award of $500,000 administered by NYS Homes and Community Renewal. Many foundations and corporations have offered support, including the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, the Peter C. Cornell Foundation, the James H. Cummings Foundation, the Junior League of Buffalo, the Marks Foundation, the Stenclik Foundation, National Grid, and the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation.
Monarch Private Capital, a community development entity, provided tax credit equity from both Historic Tax Credits and a New Markets Tax Credit allocation provided by National Trust Community Investment Corp., also a CDE. Individual donations total $1.2 million.
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “ESD recognizes the vital importance of the West Side Bazaar, which is attracting visitors, supporting the community and enhancing urban opportunities for immigrants and refugees who are excited to grow their businesses.”
Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “Our $500,000 award to support the West Side Bazaar’s new location has created economic opportunity for dozens of local business owners and job seekers while making the area more walkable and attractive to visitors. Since its inception, the Buffalo Main Streets Initiative has invested over $11.6 million to enliven commercial districts throughout the city while complementing larger-scale initiatives that are making Buffalo an even better place to live. WEDI’s West Side Bazaar is a true community anchor and HCR is thrilled to play a part in its expansion.”
Higgins said, "WEDI's West Side Bazaar is an innovative launch pad for small business growth and opportunity. In this new home on Niagara Street, the bazaar has the capacity to host more entrepreneurs and immerse a greater number of visitors in the culturally diverse tastes and treasures this destination has to offer. We are pleased to support this project and see the West Side Bazaar doors open, enriching the local community and economy.”
Mayor Byron Brown said, “It’s wonderful to see the West Side Bazaar continue to grow and flourish here in the City of Buffalo. The variety of foods and wares offered at the bazaar complements the cultures we have in our city. My commitment to diversity and inclusion in our city remains steadfast. I thank the businesses at the bazaar for sharing their culture, foods and products with us in the City of Buffalo.”
For more information about the West Side Bazaar and WEDI, click here.