Competition from local products heats up | Business premises







Grocer with greenhouse opening its first location in Southtowns

Competition in the sale of local produce intensifies, just in time for the spring planting season.

Fresh produce has become an important selling point for local supermarkets, which market the freshness and the links they forge with the local market gardeners who supply them.

Then there are the community farmers markets which are seasonal staples throughout the region.

And now Niagara Produce is playing its own part. It opened the greenhouse at its new Elma location over the weekend as it completes construction of the mall on Transit Road.

Store officials call it the first part of the new location, with the produce and deli side of the store due to open in late July or early August.

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The entire store was originally scheduled to open in March, but that plan was put on hold due to pandemic-related manufacturing and production delays, store officials said.

Niagara Produce has locations on Transit Road in East Amherst and Chestnut Street in Lockport. The retailer’s entry into the Southtowns creates more competition in an already competitive grocery market for Western New York.

At the same time, it also fills a void on the border of Elma and West Seneca, as it is located between a pair of Tops stores in Depew and Orchard Park on Transit Road/Southwestern Boulevard.

The store opened in East Amherst 60 years ago as a large farmers’ market, and in 1994 a deli and fresh meats were added. The Lockport location opened in 2008. The family business is run by Jody Chesko. His father, Richard Dorr, started the business.

The owners are completely renovating the Elma site of the former JNC Family Fun Center, which was demolished to build the 40,000 square foot mall and a 37,000 square foot greenhouse next door.

MORE OPENNESS

Elmwood Avenue gets a new KFC restaurant. A new Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant has opened in North Buffalo, a year after plans to open one in the same area failed.

The restaurant at 2230 Elmwood Ave. brings 50 new jobs to the area, according to Tonya Mangels, vice president of marketing activation for KBP Brands, the QSR franchisee responsible for the North Buffalo store.

The 40-seat, 2,900-square-foot restaurant features the latest designs from KFC’s “Next Generation” concept and includes built-in quick-pick-up shelves and dedicated parking for the KFC app or KFC.com orders.

A KFC was originally scheduled to open at 1893 Elmwood Ave. last year, but became a Taco Bell after the franchise operator ran into some unexpected issues.

Opening of the Tumble Play Café. An imaginative playground for kids combined with a cafe for their parents has opened on Clinton Street in Buffalo.

Owner Timea Braun opened the Tumble Play Café at 1373 Clinton St. Braun hopes the play center will help revitalize the Clinton Street corridor, she said.

The play area includes oversized Lego blocks and “Tumbles Town”, while the shop offers coffee from Tipico and pastries from Blue Eyed Baker.

RETAIL

Used appliances and electronics service launched by Best Buy

Best Buy now offers an e-waste collection service that would collect unwanted electronics from customers’ homes and then recycle them.

The self-driving service will pick up electronics — including major appliances, computer monitors and some fitness equipment — after customers apply online. Best Buy already offers in-store recycling of up to three electronics per day for free.

The cost of $199 per pickup or $159 for Best Buy Totaltech member customers includes pickup of two large products, plus an unlimited number of smaller products such as laptops, cameras and lanyards.

Little Caesars looking to add Buffalo franchisees

National pizza chain Little Caesars is looking to expand into the Buffalo Niagara market. But first, he needs to find people to run the franchises.

The chain said it plans to add 11 stores in the Buffalo area in the coming years. It would like to sign three multi-unit franchise agreements by 2023. Little Caesars currently has four franchises operating in the region.

SNAP can be used for Dash online purchases

Dash’s Market is now accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) payments from online shoppers at checkout.

SNAP’s online offering removes financial barriers for families in the community, allowing them to access healthy products, according to Alexa Dash, Dash’s director of e-commerce. SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, provides food assistance to families living in the United States. Dash participated in the SNAP online shopping pilot program, which began in 2017.

In 2015, Dash’s became the first supermarket in Western New York to offer online grocery shopping with in-store pickup or home delivery options.

Let us know about your retail and restaurant business, including business openings and closings, by emailing mjpetro@buffnews.com.

Want to know more? Three stories to catch up with you:

• An unfinished KFC on Elmwood Avenue will instead become a Taco Bell

• Best Buy uses Geek Squad to inspect open-box merchandise before it’s resold

• Dash’s Market launches online grocery service

Welcome to Buffalo Next. This newsletter from The Buffalo News will bring you the latest coverage on the changing economy of Buffalo Niagara – from real estate to healthcare to startups. Learn more at BuffaloNext.com.

THE LAST

Keep up to date with news related to Buffalo Niagara’s economy:

Unionized workers at a Starbucks store in Delaware and Chippewa have staged an all-day strike, after Starbucks’ acting CEO made comments about extending wage increases and improving benefits for store workers who are not organized.

The Super Flea is back and coming to Buffalo’s Outer Harbor for four months on select weekend dates starting June 4 with at least 350 vendors selling their wares.

Roswell Park plans to rehabilitate a historic 1,300 square foot home at 907 Michigan Ave.while building a major modern addition to the south that will more than double its size.

In the largest transaction in the company’s nine-year history, Buffalo-based private equity firm Lorraine Capital has acquired ICM Controlsan electronic controls manufacturer north of Syracuse.

Jericho Road Community Health Center has purchased a former assisted living facility in Buffalo for $2.05 million, with plans to renovate the structure and use it to help asylum seekers.

Niagara University received its largest donation in the university’s 166-year history while Jeff and Mary Helen Holzschuh donated $10 million to their alma mater, earning their name on her business school.

Ellicott Development Co. is planning a mixed-use project of some type at a former KeyBank branch on the Elmwood Avenue property she recently purchased.

Buffalo-based golf ball company OnCore Golf Technology is once again caught in the controversy sparked by a marketing stunt at last year’s Masters tournament.

Gary Quenneville retires from KeyBank on June 1, after helping oversee his recent growth as a local senior executive, which included the bank’s purchase of First Niagara Bank in 2016.

Frontier Group of Companies Concludes $1.7 Million transformation of the former Sheehan residence for retired priests on Linwood Avenue in the new Residences@Linwood Manor, with 20 apartments.

As he pursues plans for a new “gateway” to downtown Buffalo, Legacy Development hopes to save two historic buildings on North Oak Street.

Buffalo city officials hope to transform the LaSalle metro station and surrounding lands in University Heights in a new mixed-use project.

A consultant’s report recommends layoffs and early retirement incentives to reduce the size of SUNY-ECC’s workforce, but it does not call for the closure of its south campus.

Moog Inc. has closed its Russian office and expects to lose a few million dollars in sales because of the war in Ukraine.

Buffalo Next reporters Jonathan D. Epstein, Jon Harris, Natalie Brophy, Janet Gramza and Mike Petro contributed to this roundup.

ICYMI

Five reads from Buffalo Next:

1. BryLin will close its outpatient clinic in Amherst due to financial difficultiesmeaning it will no longer offer outpatient mental health programs for children, teens and adults as well as its outpatient substance abuse clinic for teens and adults.

2. Costco will open its first store in Western New York in what is considered one of the busiest shopping areas in the Buffalo Niagara region – the Niagara Falls Boulevard retail corridor. So how will this fit?

3. Buffalo Angel Investors all hope to hit hard, but this is not their primary motivation. For them, investing in startups is their way of contributing to the economic recovery of the region.

4. Energy roadmap calls for sweeping changes for WNY owners: A new statewide energy plan being discussed would phase out the use of natural gas in homes and buildings, in favor of greater reliance on electricity.

5. Housing prices in Buffalo Niagara continue to climb: When there is competition between buyers, it drives prices up – and that is exactly what is happening here.

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Email tips to buffalonext@buffnews.com.

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