The West Side Bazaar, an incubator site for new refugee and immigrant business on Grant Street in Buffalo, has become so successful that it is running out of space. The Bazaar is operated by the Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI) that is now studying a plan for a larger location.
However, people in the area hope it stays because it has been such a positive catalyst for neighborhood redevelopment.
According to WEDI, there have been 18 graduates from the program which have gone on to open permanent businesses in the Buffalo area.
It is a good problem to have, joked Bryana DiFonzo, WEDI director of community development, who said there is a waiting list of people (immigrants and refugees) hoping to get space to try and develop their own business ideas.
Customer response has been so strong, that the West Side Bazaar can be jammed with crowds looking to purchase unique ethnic foods from several start-up restaurateurs.
DiFonzo said she could not disclose specific details about future plans other to say they are aimed at providing more opportunities for new businesses and customers.
While there are some who are worried that future plans might mean a move to another area, DiFonzo replied "We are definitely looking at staying in the area and it will still be the West Side Bazaar."
A task force created by WEDI has spent the past two years looking at ideas to make the West Side Bazaar bigger and better.
Wedi is hoping to make a major announcement later this year about the future of the West Side Bazaar. DiFonzo said Wedi is still fundraising for the project.
7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly has more in his reports.