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A royal wedding means good business for a Buffalo-based British food shop

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Michael Mroziak, WBFO
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As the hours pass and the highly-anticipated wedding of British Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle draws closer, one business in Buffalo is enjoying sales to individuals looking to stock up on "proper" foods for the event.

Parker's A Great British Institution first opened in 2008 on South Park Avenue in Buffalo, selling meat pies and opening a "chippy," or fish and chips shop, on its property. They've since expanded to sell other hot foods while shipping out various British delicacies. They've also built a full-sized soccer pitch and adjacent bar on the property and are slowly creating an indoor replica High Street shopping block.

In advance of Saturday's royal wedding, business has been good.

'They're buying typical party food like pork pies, sausage rolls, Scotch eggs, scones have had a big uptick recently," said co-founder Victoria Parker. "I guess a lot of people are going to do afternoon teas and things, even though the wedding's in the morning."

Some media coverage of the wedding is set to begin in predawn hours. The ceremony itself is scheduled to start at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. 

While royal weddings are ignored by many on this side of the Atlantic, there are also those excitededly looking forward to it. And not just people of British descent. Parker was asked why royal weddings remain so appealing to those who will follow it.

"They don't happen a lot. They're very rare and they're very pomp-and-circumstance, very traditional and people like to see that," she replied. "It's kind of like a fairy tale. Even as British people we still like to see that. It's something nice to see and a feel-good thing as well."

Having an American involved also appeals to many and Prince Harry, Parker suggested, comes off as a likeable individual.

"He's a more down to earth with the people kind of thing, so I guess people relate to him more," she said. "He doesn't use his royalness as much as the others might."

Prince Harry, like many other members of his family, also served in the military. Harry's duties included two tours in Afghanistan. 

While Parker's is indeed a specialty store, it's not as out of place in a town like Buffalo as some might think.

"There's a surprisingly large amount of British ex-pats in Buffalo," said Parker. "And then because we're so close to Canada, we get a lot of Canadians or British people in Canada driving over the border to come to us, too. We do make authentic British product and is some of the best in the US."

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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