BUFFALO, N.Y. — It has been four months since an accidental fire left multiple business owners at Buffalo's West Side Bazaar without a place to make their livelihood.
Since then, a few have found temporary restaurant space, or have moved altogether, but for the owners that haven't been so lucky there's now a place for them to open up.
"Quite frankly, this wound up being the best space for us to set up something so similar to our old space," WEDI executive director Carolynn Welch said.
617 Main Street in Buffalo, the old Expo Market, will soon be home to the Downtown Bazaar. An accidental fire forced WEDI's West Side Bazaar to close in September.
While 007 Chinese Food found a new home in Hamburg, several other businesses haven't been able to reopen. A bunch of them, along with some new ones, will call this space home.
"There was obviously some things that had been left prior to COVID because it closed with COVID, but I think what we saw was possibility. We walked in, we saw the food stalls already set up, we saw space for our retail, and I think I can speak for our entire team when we just got really excited about what we could make happen here," Welch said.
It's also a lot bigger. The West Side Bazaar on Grant Street was 3,200 square feet. This space is about 9,000 square feet, which is perfect for a small business incubator that's helped many people from the immigrant and refugee communities start their own businesses.
WEDI's executive director can't wait to see the shops and restaurants thrive here.
"What really made the Bazaar beautiful is everybody was getting along, and they were in this very, very close quarters. If you've ever been to the Bazaar, and they are anxious to learn more about each other, anxious to learn more about the fabric that makes up our city. What is the story behind our business owners and the food they create. How did they come to Buffalo? So I think it's created this amazing safe space to learn more about the diversity of our city and hopefully can be a model for the future of our city," Welch said.
The goal is to open here in less than a month. The hours will be Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.