For years, the East Side has been a part of town where it is hard to access healthy foods. While that remains true, there are signs of hope that things are slowly starting to change.
Since many East Side residents are forced to shop at corner markets, due to lack of transportation, there is a cause for concern that unhealthy eating habits equate to numerous problems including elevated obesity rates and a variety of sicknesses. When corner store shelves are stocked with mostly canned foods, chips, prepackaged sandwiches, soda, etc., what’s one to do?
That’s a question that is now being answered by the Cuomo administration, which recently announced the completion of a $145,000 expansion project at Mandella Market (272 East Ferry Street). Funding for the project was allocated by the state’s East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund and Buffalo Billion II initiative.
The market, open 24 hours a day and accessible by bus routes, is located within a USDA-designated second standard food desert. That designation was what prompted the need for the expansion, which will ensure that residents now have access to fresh and healthy foods.
“Access to fresh, quality food is critical to the health and prosperity of all communities during these challenging times,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York State is proud to support projects like the expansion of the Mandella Market and the continuing revitalization of Buffalo’s East Side. I congratulate (owner) Ahmed Saleh, who works hard every day to provide food to the neighborhood he lives in and loves.”
“Lack of access to fresh food is an injustice,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “We are proud to support the expansion of Mandella Market, which will put healthy food on the table for families in Buffalo’s East Side. Thank you to Mandella Market founder Ahmed Saleh, who is helping lead the way to make our community even stronger.”
To date, Saleh’s successes running the market have also warranted the investment. In 2012, he initially expanded the East Ferry market, and in 2018 he opened a second location on Broadway. This newest expansion on East Ferry saw the construction of an additional 1,500 square feet of new space, and allowed Saleh to purchased new equipment. In order to advance the project, an investment of $130,000 came from Empire State Development as part of the East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund. The funding allows Saleh to introduce a variety of healthy fruits, vegetables, and prepared foods to his market inventory.
“We are pleased the expansion of our market on East Ferry street is complete and ready to be enjoyed by residents of Buffalo’s East Side,” said Saleh, an African immigrant who worked his way through business school, and established Mandella Market in 2007. “I thank New York State for supporting this opportunity to bring fresh produce, new food options and additional jobs to a neighborhood in need of convenient, affordable and nutritious meal options.”
Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, “Ahmed Saleh’s Mandella Market is literally an oasis in the ‘food desert’ on Buffalo’s East Side. This $145,000 expansion, thanks to the state’s East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund and Buffalo Billion II, will help Saleh grow his mission to provide fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy food options to people who live and work on Buffalo’s East Side.”
City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, “The completion of the Mandella Market’s expansion project on East Ferry and Jefferson is great news for residents who live in this neighborhood as they now have access to healthier food options like fruits and vegetables. I am grateful for this $145,000 targeted investment from Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State’s East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund. Our residents can now enjoy even more nutritional, prepared food options and fresh produce, all year long. I also thank Mandella Market Owner Ahmed Saleh for his deep commitment and excellent service to our community.”
272 E. Ferry St.
Buffalo, NY 14208