A longtime Buffalo tradition returned to a city landmark Friday, as the Broadway Market formally announced the start of its pre-Easter holiday shopping season. City officials marked the occasion by announcing some upcoming capital improvements to the cherished East Side facility.
In the days before Easter Sunday, tens of thousands of Western New Yorkers travel to the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood to shop for traditional holiday foods. Polish items, including kielbasa, pierogi and butter lambs, remain popular selections. So, too, do baked goods. But numerous other Western New York vendors are also there, selling everything from wine to chocolates.
"It's packed Easter week and the people love it," said Amanda, who was managing the Niagara Landing Wine Cellars table. "They love to taste our wines and love to see the old place. It's nice to see it lively once a year."
Amanda told WBFO this is her fourth year running Niagara Landing's seasonal setup, though the Lockport-based vineyard has been a seasonal vendor for many more years.
Nearby, Amanda Diamond was setting up the Kelly's Country Store display not far from a stage where dignitaries were about to speak to formally open the holiday shopping season. Kelly's Country Store, based in Grand Island, has also been a returning vendor. This year, they have two stations, including one closer to the meat markets at the opposite end of the concourse. In addition to the more traditional chocolate rabbits and crosses, there were novelty selections available.
"You can find something for everybody. We have our (chocolate) tool sets, our construction vehicles, the dogs," Diamond said. "And we have it in all different flavors: milk, orange, dark, white, peanut butter, cherry cheesecake."
Nine new seasonal vendors will do business in the Broadway Market while three are debuting as permanent shops: Babcia's Pierogi Company, We R Nuts and Marge's Soul Food.
Soon, city leaders say, businesses inside the Market will have an opportunity to cook and better communicate. Mayor Byron Brown announced during the Friday noon-hour ceremony that the City of Buffalo will soon install a commercial kitchen and wi-fi within the building, while reconstructing the parking garages.
Acknowledging Common Council member David Franczyk, who was also among the numerous elected and religious leaders on stage, Mayor Brown renewed his commitment to preserving the Broadway Market.
"The council member and I have worked very closely together with the members of the city council, during my tenure as mayor, to make sure that the market stays alive, stays healthy and vibrant for all of us, now and into the future."
The city, according to the Mayor's Office, will spend more than $1.4 million on capital improvements to the Broadway Market by the end of the year.
Comptroller Mark Schroeder added that the city will soon go into the bond market to raise funds to fix the market's floor.
Franczyk, meanwhile, used his opportunity to speak to again promote the Central Terminal as a preferred choice for a future Buffalo train station. The Central Terminal, another East Side landmark, is under consideration along with Canalside. Others suggest putting the future train station in Larkinville while some believe the city should fix the existing Exchange Street facility.
The Broadway Market first opened in 1888.