WBFO Business & Economy Desk

The Business and Economy News Desk is funded by The M&T Charitable Foundation.

Daniel Byler started a recent Friday morning by packaging online orders of Camembert, cheddar and other cheeses scheduled for customer pick-up at the local farmers market the following day. But unlike the market's other vendors, Byler operates his family "micro-dairy" without the internet.


Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he is facing pressure to ease restrictions in the province and reopen the economy. The pressure comes after new data suggests that the community spread of COVID-19 cases may have peaked in the province.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, before traveling to the White House to meet with President Trump on COVID-19 matters, brought his daily briefing to Buffalo on Tuesday, where he announced the strategy to eventually reopen the economy will be done on a region-by-region basis.

The surging unemployment rate serves as a clear indicator of how the economy is suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it's just part of a story which has more chapters still to be written. 

The New York state Department of Labor now has an easier process in place for people to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The labor department has also beefed up its call center with thousands of representatives.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

A longtime Hertel Avenue bar is closed after a neighborhood resident reported what Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz described as an "unofficial happy hour" at Gabels.

Chris Caya / WBFO News

The General Motors Tonawanda engine plant will have a new director, effective June 1.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

An estimated 150 vehicles were traveling in slow laps around Niagara Square during the noon hour Monday, horns blaring, as its occupants held signs and flags in a protest against New York State's extended NY PAUSE order and the restrictions it has imposed during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

In the Southtowns' Eden Valley, the first signs of spring are plastic sheeting and small plastic caps in the fields and the shades of green visible through greenhouse walls. Farming may be an inherently risky business, but last week's snow shows that's always true in a year of unknowns.


A manufacturing company in the City of Tonawanda is ramping up production of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and first responders with the help of a statewide organization.

Dave Lucas / WAMC

Due to the pandemic, business confidence has hit the floor in New York State. Here's a look at the latest Siena College poll of upstate business leaders.

Lyle Wood

The coronavirus pandemic has triggered a major disconnect in the dairy industry. On one hand, milk shelves at the grocery store have been sometimes bare. On the other hand, North Country dairy farmers are having to dump their milk for lack of a market. It's a worst-case scenario for the region’s dairy farms as the industry’s been hurting for years.

Buffalo Games

Are your family members doing jigsaw puzzles while they are cooped up in the house during this pandemic? A local company is doing so well in the national lockdown that it's running out of product to sell.

Buffalo Niagara Partnership

As Erie County fights the COVI19 crisis, it is also looking forward to getting the economy cranked up again and people back to work.

Will the CARES Act help keep companies afloat?

Apr 16, 2020
Chris Caya/WBFO News

It goes without saying that many local businesses have been suffering since the novel coronavirus hit. Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economy Security (CARES) Act to help. It includes low-interest loans and tax credits for small companies. But will it be enough for those who need it? 

File photo

It's spring in Ontario's Niagara-on-the-Lake, usually a time when the flow of tourist buses increases, hotel reservations flow and the performers of the Shaw Festival move quickly between rehearsals and the first preview performances of the 2020 season. Except, they aren't, with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

WBFO file photo

Buffalo Common Council members say price gouging is becoming a problem as the city deals with the COVID-19 pandemic. During Tuesday's online session, they shared reports of $4 for a stick of butter and $30 for hand sanitizer.

Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his counterparts in several other states announced on Monday a task force to figure out how to reopen society after the widespread coronavirus closures.

Kyle S. Mackie/WBFO News

In the middle of a global pandemic, Friday night in Allentown just doesn’t mean what it used to. WBFO asked bars and restaurants in one of Buffalo’s most popular neighborhoods for nightlife how they’re coping with the COVID-19 shutdown.

Hackathon will benefit COVID-19 frontline workers

Apr 10, 2020
Image by noshad ahmed from Pixabay

43North may be best known for its annual startup competition and the hundreds of high-tech jobs it has helped create, but the organization holds other types of events as well. The second annual Code:Buffalo hackathon now underway is designed to benefit the community in more ways than one. 

Facebook/County Executive Mark Poloncarz

During his daily update on COVID-19 cases, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced the formal kickoff of the Erie County Business Task Force, created to identify and provide immediate relief to businesses who have been financially hit by the ongoing pandemic.

A possible costly nightmare for some local amusement park goers has been averted. Consumers who prepaid for the 2020 season at Fantasy Island will be getting their money back. 

WBFO Photo/Dave Debo

Usuallly filled with throngs of Western New Yorkers buying Polish-specialty foods for Easter, this year the Broadway Market in Buffalo is just another place where shoppers are trying to stay safe and vendors  are trying to make do in the era of COVID-19.

Seasonal vendors are gone, crowds are thin and several shoppers could be seen wearing masks this weekend.

"It's like a ghost town," says Paula Kurasiewicz, who owns Pierogi by Paula, and is one of a handful of vendors operating inside the market, and hoping curbside pickup will make the difference.

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

A Buffalo-based business is helping companies locally and across the nation ramp up production of disposable masks and other personal protective equipment.

Nick Lippa / WBFO

On March 20, bike shops across Western New York were told they would have to close down because they were not an essential service. Less than a day later, after most of those stores came together to plead their case, they were told they could remain open.

Courtesy of Kelsey Worth

Grocery and convenience stores are among the few remaining businesses that Western New Yorkers can patronize in-person, but some of the essential workers there caution customers to take shopping trips seriously. WBFO’s Kyle Mackie reports on efforts to protect local employees and what customers can do to help.

Emyle Watkins / WBFO News

The Buffalo News and its new parent company, Lee Enterprises, have announced Tuesday morning that it will lay off or furlough an unspecified number of employees.

File photo

The film industry in Western New York, like most other businesses, has been shut down because of COVID-19. On this week's Press Pass, Buffalo Niagara Film Commissioner Tim Clark talks with WBFO’s Pat Feldballe about the state of things, proactive efforts to aid the cause by members of the film community, and a suggestion for a movie available on streaming services made here in Buffalo.

Matthew D. Wilson / Wikipedia

New York State's last coal-burning electric generating plant is officially shutting down Tuesday.

Citing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the leadership of People United for Sustainable Housing, better known as PUSH Buffalo, announced Monday it will cancel rents in April for its low-income resident and commercial tenants.