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Buffalo Common Councilman proposes new management of Broadway Market

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Posted at 4:48 PM, Oct 20, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Nuts are Pearl Omphalius’s bread and butter.

“I sell almonds, cashews, pecans, all kinds of roasted nuts.”

She's done so inside the Broadway Market in Buffalo for the last six years. She also sells out of other locations and for good reason. “If this was my soul income, I would have been bankrupt a long time ago,” she said.

Omphalius said business is abysmal. “All the people come back for Easter. It’s a tradition. The rest of the year you can shoot off a canon and successfully not hit anybody.”

Buffalo Common Councilman Mitch Nowakowsi is looking to improve the broadway market’s image. He introduced a resolution that would establish new management to oversee day-to-day operations and implement a new strategic plan.

Currently, the market is managed by the City of Buffalo.

“Right now we have one city employee doing the job of seven. My resolution would allow an entity that could capacity build,” Nowakowski explained to 7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ali Touhey.

Nowakowski is proposing to use four million in state dollars already allocated for the market to pay a non-profit agency or team of individuals to take it over.

Touhey: The Broadway Market has been run by a nonprofit before. Why do you think this time it would be successful? Nowakowski: The nonprofit that ran it before, it’s structure and appointments are vastly different from what we’re proposing today. Previous, there was a lot of members and none were super strategic on how to move the market forward.

This time, they’d look to hire an accountant and a lawyer, meaning individuals with specific skills required when running a business.

Nowakoski said another added benefit to new management is the impact it could have on the surrounding Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood.

“This is something that we have been working on for two years,” said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown when asked to comment on Nowakowski’s resolution. “It doesn’t happen by Resolution. It happens by careful planning,” he said, adding an announcement in leadership changes was coming soon.

Broadway Market venders like Pearl Omphalius would like to see more traffic inside this market year round, and she supports new management. She just hopes it isn’t another pie in the sky idea.

“I could see this coming around as an international food market. I could see it happening and I could see it being a premiere international food market,” she said.

Nowakowski said he’s meeting with Buffalo’s Office of Strategic Planning later this week to discuss the resolution. He’s requested a roadmap to move the market forward before the new year.