Michelle Gigante’s heart belongs to the West Side of Buffalo. For years she owned and operated yoga studios in different Buffalo neighborhoods and the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
10 years ago, she made the decision to move her practice into the old and M&T Bank on Grant Street. Over the weekend her studio, Shakti Yoga, celebrated its 10th year at its Grant Street location. Gigante said she was apprehensive about the purchase until she say the building.
“And the minute I came by the West Side,” she said. “The minute I entered Grant Street, the minute I looked at this building, I knew it was the right space for Shakti, my business, my people and my community.”
Gigante credits Grant Street staples like Guercio and Sons Supermarket, Lorigo Meats and Sweetness & Café as foundations for revitalizing commerce in the neighborhood.
“Those three were basically my sense of support,” she said. “That I knew that if there were a few other businesses here that I could be okay here.”
Shakti Yoga’s inclusivity, Gigante said, reflects the cultural diversity of the neighborhood, and after a decade, it is hard to separate the two.