CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. -- Each Monday, we introduce you to a City Shaper- someone making an impact in our community. We've featured many entrepreneurs, and this week, 2 On Your Side's Kelly Dudzik introduces us to a Cheektowaga business owner who found success after overcoming several challenges.
The owner of Favors-N-Gifts in Cheektowaga started crafting more than forty years ago.
"I grew up in West Seneca, and when I turned 18, I moved to Cheektowaga. I'm not going to tell you how old I am now, but I've been in Cheektowaga all my adult life," says Barbara Zwick.
Barbara Zwick owns Favors-N-Gifts. Ninety-percent of the crafts in the store are handmade either by Barbara or her husband.
"How did you start your love of crafting, and how did you end up owning your own business?" asked Dudzik.
"Well, I always wanted to do something for myself. I had a couple of friends that introduced me to crafting," explained Zwick. "I didn't think I was crafty, but I guess everybody has their own niche. And, when I found mine, I realized I could do more than I ever expected."
Before she knew it, Barbara was hooked. She started her own business in 1971. Her husband, Barry, learned how to paint and do woodworking, which came in handy to keep the business going when Barbara was diagnosed with cancer twice in the 1990s.
"I'm not in remission so to speak, but I say I'm in remission because I'm still here. Even though I'm fighting, I'm still here," says Zwick.
Barbara also survived a bad accident which meant Barry's support meant even more to her.
"Ended up paralyzed from my neck down. First thing that came back were my hands. I began to get busy, thus, God blessed me with more talents, and I just continued to progress more and more work, the more I did, the more I was able to do. And all of the sudden, the business just started flourishing to what it is today," says Zwick.
The Zwicks moved their shop from Snyder to Cheektowaga in 2003.
"What advice do you have for people who start something fresh from the ground up like what you did?" asked Dudzik.
"It was our dream, and I think now our dream is coming true, but it is hard doing a one place thing now because people do a lot on the internet. I'm hoping still to draw people in here who like to feel things, like to see things, touch things, smell things. I prefer to do that myself," explained Zwick.
Barbara hopes to continue crafting for years to come.
If you would like to nominate someone to be a City Shaper, just email Kelly Dudzik.