The Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI) is well on its way towards establishing a cultural destination on the West Side unlike anything that Buffalo has seen since the heyday of the Broadway Market. It was back in October of 2019 when we first discussed future home of The West Side Bazaar at 1432 Niagara Street.
After weathering through the pandemic, it sounds as if everything is back on track towards creating a singular food, retail, and services destination at the 18000 SF warehouse building. That’s quite a big jump from the 3200 square foot space where the Bazaar is currently located.
The expansion will provide the Bazaar with everything that it needs to become an even more popular destination-driven ethnically diverse market place.
Carolynn Welch, Executive Director at WEDI (the umbrella organization that operates the Bazaar), told me that it was due time for the expansion, as lunchtime at the Bazaar has become a case of “musical chairs” to find a seat.
“The first floor of the new location will be similar to what people are familiar with,” she told me. “We will be expanding from 4 to 8 restaurants, and expanding the retail as well. Remember, this is an incubator – our goal is to give these businesses a place to establish themselves. We give them everything that they need from a business standpoint. They have low overhead, the can save capital, and they get business training – each business has a relationship manager at WEDI. The hope is that they eventually move on to find their own brick and mortar in the community.”
Welch mentioned that the second floor would allow the Bazaar to expand into the realm of providing services. That could mean a hair salon, or a tax business. She noted that currently there is a 40-business waiting list to get into the Bazaar.
The second floor of the Bazaar’s new home will also have a training kitchen, which will help with food safety training. There will also be community classes. “It’s where you will be able to learn how to make a great Ethiopian dish,” said Welch. “In addition, that floor will have a community room for meetings, summits, and cultural events, etc.”
I asked Welch if there was any outdoor space available for marketeers, and she explained that there will be two large garage doors along the sidewalk, which will provide a sidewalk market atmosphere along the streetscape.
At this time, there is plenty of on-street parking, but there might be potential for some off-street parking down the road. Fortunately, the Bazaar is being marketed as a walkable and bike-able neighborhood asset that will hopefully lead to more people looking to post up (residential and business) along Niagara Street.
With the new street infrastructure in place, a number of new developments arising, and the opening of this significant cultural market, Niagara Street is finally coming into its own.
Lead image: This is not a final rendering, but should give a good hint about the final look and feel of the building