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Amanda Kwaczala is a volunteer who helps students select the gown of their dreams during the `Gowns for Prom` program.
Amanda Kwaczala is a volunteer who helps students select the gown of their dreams during the "Gowns for Prom" program.

Colvin Cleaners' 'Gowns for Prom' distribution site moving to Buffalo Convention Center

Fri, Mar 22nd 2024 11:00 am

By Michael J. Billoni

Senior Contributing Writer

The 16th annual Colvin Cleaners “Gowns for Prom” has a new home for high school students to select a free gown during a three-day distribution April 9-11: the Buffalo Convention Center, at 153 Franklin St.

For the past 15 years, the nonprofit program has been held on the stage at Shea’s Performing Arts Center. Due to a need for more space, and the unavailability of dates, the move was necessitated.

The 2024 “Gowns for Prom” will be held from 3-7 p.m. April 9-11. To obtain a gown at no cost, WNY high school students must register online at www.gownsforprom.com.

“We loved our partnership with Shea’s Performing Arts Center. Being on the amazing stage and using the stars’ dressing rooms was so special, but we simply outgrew the space,” explained Christopher Billoni, vice president of Colvin Cleaners. “When this year’s dates did not work, we found a great location in the first-floor auditorium at the Buffalo Convention Center. “They are also building us dressing rooms so everything can be handled on one floor. This will give the students much more room to select and try on the gown of their dreams.”

Desperate Need for Donations of Larger-Size Gowns

Colvin Cleaners cleans, sorts and distributes gowns at no cost to students in the community.

It seeks donations of gowns of all sizes and colors, as well as purses and shoes, which students can select from when choosing a gown. This year, there is a great need for gowns sizes 12 and larger. For a list of donation locations, visit www.gownsforprom.com.

Cyndee Billoni, and her husband, Paul, are celebrating their 16th annual “Gowns for Prom” program.


Students Must Register Online to Participate

Students must register for a timeslot over the event’s three days to select a gown at no cost. Gowns will be displayed on racks, sorted by size, and volunteers will be on the floor assisting the students. To register, visit www.gownsforprom.com.

“Online slots work best for students, their school, and their parents or guardians,” Billoni said. “This way, every student has time to select a gown, ensuring they look and feel their best for one of the biggest days of their high school careers. We’re so proud to be able to help so many students have the prom they deserve.”

More than 100 high schools throughout Western New York have participated in the “Gowns for Prom” program and over the past 15 years, Colvin Cleaners has distributed more than 17,000 gowns to students.

Community Support

“Our long-term partnership with Colvin Cleaners has been critical for our business's success. Their commitment to quality is met with meticulous care and unparalleled service. We look forward to our continued relationship," said Jeff Calkins, general manager of the Buffalo Convention Center.

Billoni said, “The Colvin Cleaners’ mission has always been focused on helping our community through programs like this.”

Both The Allstate Foundation and Reeds Jenss support Colvin Cleaners’ “Gowns for Prom.” This nonprofit program relies on donations and volunteers from throughout Western New York.

The Allstate Foundation provides donation spaces at various offices throughout the year.

More About Colvin Cleaners

A 93-year young company, Colvin Cleaners was founded by Phil Billoni. His brothers, Tony and Santo, worked for the business for over 50 years. Tony’s son – President and CEO Paul – has worked there for 46 years. Tony’s son – Vice President Christopher – and daughter – Restoration Manager Erica – are third-generation members of the family business.

Colvin Cleaners proudly presents “Coats 4 Kids” and “Gowns for Prom” philanthropic programs. For more information, visit www.colvincleaners.com.

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