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KeyBank, First Niagara Foundation donates $1.5 million to transform West Side Bazaar

Plans call for the business to move from its current Grant Street location to a new building located at 1432 Niagara St.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A popular place to eat and shop is getting a major boost that will enable the businesses located there to move and expand their offerings.

The West Side Bazaar, a non-profit business incubator run by the Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI), will benefit from a $1.5 million donation from KeyBank and the First Niagara Foundation.

The money will enable the business to move from its current home on Grant Street to a new, larger space at 1432 Niagara St. When it opens in 2022, the new West Side Bazaar will quintuple in size and provide space for 24 restaurant, retail and professional service businesses. It will also house test and rental kitchens for independent chefs, classrooms, event space and seating for 75-plus patrons. 

“This generous gift from KeyBank in partnership with the First Niagara Foundation is a catalyst for our capital campaign to move and expand our West Side Bazaar,” said WEDI Executive Director Carolynn Welch. "WEDI’s mission is to create equity through education and by supporting underserved entrepreneurs as they build toward their own establishments and realize financial security – the Bazaar is a first expression of their brick-and-mortar dreams. The new Bazaar will be an anchor and destination on Niagara Street demonstrating that all residents of Western New York can succeed and thrive in a culturally inclusive community.”

The grant will also help WEDI and those who work at and patronize the Bazaar in other ways including:

  • Provide a business anchor on the West Side, creating equitable paths to entrepreneurship and business ownership
  • Provide minority and women-owned enterprises (MWBEs) with life-changing capital in dollar ranges not offered by any other community development financial institution in Western New York
  • Support businesses being incubated through WEDI programming and provide crucial wrap-around services to support businesses to sustain and grow
  • Enable emerging entrepreneurs from ethnic and racial minority communities to open small businesses and create jobs in their neighborhoods and communities
  • Create equitable and inclusive development, combating gentrification/displacement - planting a stake in the ground for grassroots development in the community
  • Attract surrounding neighborhood residents and tourists to patronize businesses led by minorities, women, and low-income business owners, creating a ripple effect, and spreading the economic benefits in the community—advancing and creating self-sufficiency
  • Provide MWBEs with transformative financial credit, eventually allowing them to borrow greater sums of capital from larger CDFIs and then banks.