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West Side Bazaar operators show future space for the market, get a financial kickstart to renovate

WEDI receives $1.5 million boost toward Bazaar relocation to Niagara Street
Emyle Watkins, WBFO
Today, the building at 1432 Niagara Street in Buffalo is an empty warehouse space. But the Westminster Economic Development Initiative, which operates the West Side Bazaar, is planning to convert the space into the Bazaar's future home.

The organization which operates the West Side Bazaar is raising funds to eventually relocate the attraction to Niagara Street. On Monday, the Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI) received a significant cash boost to help reach that goal.

The West Side Bazaar has provided an accommodating space for Buffalo’s New Americans to incubate small businesses and restaurants for the past ten years. But it has outgrown its current Grant Street location. WEDI recently located a larger space to relocate the bazaar, at 1432 Niagara Street.

To kick off a fundraising campaign for building renovations, WEDI officials received a $1.5 million gift from KeyBank and the First Niagara Foundation.

“This kind of program, what WEDI does, providing educational and financial resources for immigrants and refugees but not only also entrepreneurs and business owners, really helps make this a more stable and attractive community,” said Elizabeth Gurney, the Director of Corporate Philanthropy at KeyBank and the Executive Director of the First Niagara Foundation.

The Bazaar’s future home is currently a vacant warehouse. When renovated, it will house up to 24 restaurants and businesses. WEDI officials hope to have the new space ready in the autumn of 2022.

“They have a variety of programs and that they that they support, and not only the Bazaar, that's a big part of it, but they have tutoring programs. They have provide tremendous support to small businesses and entrepreneurs, not only on the west side, but also on the east side and across town,” Gurney added.

Emyle Watkins is an investigative journalist covering disability for WBFO.
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.