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West Side Bazaar gets $1 million for new expanded location

A large building with a banner that says "BAZAAR"
Mike Desmond
The new home of the West Side Bazaar.

Yet another old industrial building on Niagara Street is being rehabbed, as continuing redevelopment of the street attracts investment.

This time what was once an illegal liquor plant during Prohibition will be turned into a new West Side Bazaar. It will be a vastly larger replacement for the West Side Bazaar not that far away on Grant Street.

The entrance to the current West Side Bazaar on Grant Street in Buffalo.
Mike Desmond
The current West Side Bazaar on Grant Street in Buffalo.

As announced Monday by Rep. Brian Higgins, the rehab is getting almost $1 million federal dollars. The Westminster Economic Development Initiative said the new building will open sometime next year.

WEDI President Steve Zenger said there are 100 entrepreneurs ready for the space.

"More than 40 businesses have incubated the current West Side Bazaar and 26 of them have graduated to full financial independence in the community. It's a model that works," Zenger said. "We will get five times the square footage here that we have on Grant Street and this will be good for our businesses and our customers. We're ready to increase the profits of our entrepreneurs and increase the tax revenue for the region."

Nile River Restaurant owner Akec Aguer said he's looking forward to more space for his South Sudan food business.

"That's why I manage the Nile River, is that everybody can eat at it," Aguer said. "So that is the meaning of it and I am so happy. I can't wait to be here next year. I want to make more than that, if I have finance. I want to make a difference for South Sudanese community and for the South Sudanese community in all, to make a difference in Buffalo."

The current West Side Bazaar features a mix of food kiosks serving an array of foods from the many immigrant groups that have moved to Buffalo in recent decades, as well as sales of items inspired by the cultures of those original homes. It's also a community gathering place.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.