(WNY News Now) – Buffalo’s beloved West Side Bazaar is set to reopen at its new and significantly expanded location on Niagara Street, offering opportunities to a diverse range of entrepreneurs and enriching the city’s cultural tapestry.
Buffalo, NY – The West Side Bazaar, an iconic fixture on Buffalo’s West Side, has unveiled its new, expanded location at 1432 Niagara Street, marking a significant milestone in fostering local entrepreneurship and cultural diversity. Operated by the Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI), the Bazaar provides space for dozens of food, retail, and professional services businesses, along with office and classroom facilities, test rental kitchens, and even a full-service bar and event space.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrated the grand reopening today, with the Bazaar scheduled to open its doors to the public for a grand opening celebration from October 31 to November 4. The new West Side Bazaar represents an opportunity for budding entrepreneurs, including women, minorities, refugees, immigrants, and those who may not qualify for support from traditional financial institutions.
Newly located in a beautifully renovated historic building, the Bazaar serves as a one-of-a-kind small business incubator that supports aspiring business owners with microloans and technical business assistance. The 16,000 square foot space accommodates 24 restaurants, retail shops, and professional services, in addition to office space for WEDI, test and rental kitchens for independent chefs, classrooms, a stage, and a bar for events with a seating capacity of over 200 patrons. Initially, the new location is set to incubate approximately 20 small businesses, with room for more in the years to come, building on the success of incubating over 45 small businesses to date.
The new West Side Bazaar includes a diverse array of businesses such as eight restaurants, four food retail entrepreneurs, and various other occupants. Several businesses from the former Bazaar on Grant Street will continue at the Downtown Bazaar, situated in Buffalo’s popular Theatre District.
Executive Director of WEDI, Carolynn Welch, emphasized the Bazaar’s role in eliminating economic barriers and fostering equity in Western New York. The expansion has been made possible through significant support from various sectors, including private and nonprofit foundations, governmental entities, and community-minded individuals.
The West Side Bazaar’s impact extends beyond its immediate community, as a feasibility study projects an estimated $34 million in direct and indirect spending over five years and up to 250,000 annual visitors. Additionally, it is expected to create 25 to 30 new jobs, contributing to the vitality and walkability of the West Side community and boosting sales for local businesses.
CJS Architects, renowned for its adaptive reuse projects, designed the new home for the West Side Bazaar. The historic building’s transformation maintains its historical charm while offering modern amenities.
Founded in 2011 on Grant Street, the West Side Bazaar quickly became a popular shopping and dining destination for locals and tourists alike. Its new Niagara Street location is expected to attract a growing number of residents and visitors to the revitalized commercial district.
The success of this expansion is due to significant contributions, including an anchor gift from KeyBank and the First Niagara Foundation, as well as support from various foundations and organizations, both private and nonprofit. Tax credit equity was also provided by Monarch Private Capital.
Various public officials, including Governor Hochul, have expressed their support for the West Side Bazaar, recognizing its vital role in promoting entrepreneurship, economic development, and cultural diversity in Buffalo.
Supporters of the West Side Bazaar’s expansion believe this represents a significant step forward in fostering economic opportunity, cultural diversity, and community enrichment in Buffalo, while also contributing to the city’s ongoing revitalization efforts.