I’m a big fan of supporting the small business. The stronger our small businesses are, the stronger the city is. Whenever I can, I try to stop into the newly opened shops to see how they are faring. Of course the ones on Elmwood seem to do well right out of the gate due to the high visibility, power in numbers, and the walking traffic. But what about the businesses that can’t afford the higher rents or maybe don’t appeal to the masses – rather they are niche operations that cater to a growing, yet still small, segment of the population.
If you ask Manan Yokaleo (left), he’ll tell you that the idea of an International Marketplace on Grant or elsewhere is very appealing. He had heard that Grant would one day be home to such an idea. In the meantime, the owner (Bel Luko from Congo) of the business where he works, Garang International Market, has opted to open in a rather obscure section of Niagara Street. It’s not to say that Garang won’t make it due to the location… slowly but surely there are customers who seek them out. Beacause the rent is low there is a chance that they can establish themselves. Eventually two things will happen – Garang will either dig in and make a permanent home in this location, or they will head out in search of new diggs and new customers. If and when they opt for the latter, will there be a setting where they can operate in conjunction with others?
The more I think about it, the more something along the lines of the Grant Street Market Place makes sense. Or the Niagara Riverside Market. There are plenty of entrepreneurs out there looking for this sort of initiative. I can’t help but imagine walking around a giant warehouse on the West Side filled with foods from all over the world – where even the venders could purchase from each other in a manner that helps them to coexist efficiently and effectively. In the meantime, Manon and Kual Deng (right) will continue to sell
goods such as Vimto (my new favorite soft drink), couscous, beans,
falafel, spices, teas, and meat (lamb and goat), along with locally
reconstructed clothing garments and international West African wares. I love learning about these cultural offerings as they appear in our neighborhoods.
Garang International Market is located at 325 Niagara Street | Buffalo, NY | 716-840-0031
Hours of operation: Monday – Sunday 9am-11pm