BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Buffalo Barkery started in Maggie Lamparelli's kitchen several years ago. Now, Buffalo Barkery occupies a prime storefront in the Market Arcade facing Main Street. She partnered with her sister-in-law to form the business.
"Cheryl and I would exchange recipes for dog biscuits because we were really tired of all the recalls that were happening a few years ago. We would make healthy biscuits for our own dogs, and we decided to try it out as a business," Lamparelli said.
They didn't know if they could make it in the beginning. Queen City Pop Up helped. It's a program, created by Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, Buffalo Place, and Working for Downtown. The initiative offers storefronts in the central business district rent free for a few months to small, start-up businesses.
"Through that program, we were able to test our market in downtown Buffalo and see if there was a need for what we were doing," Lamparelli said.
After Buffalo Barkery participated in Queen City Pop Up, they quickly became a success. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said he hopes more businesses can do the same.
"This program was initiated in 2014 to activate retail spaces in downtown Buffalo, to restore retail to downtown, to give retailers the opportunity to see what a great experience and opportunity it is to be located in downtown Buffalo, and then to incubate small businesses in the retail area who wanted to go into a storefront and grow their small retail business," Mayor Brown said.
Janita Everhart is one of the four small business owners selected for the pop-up program for Summer 2019. She owns Willow's Breeze, a handmade line of organic skin care products, started to help her little girl.
"After my daughter was diagnosed with autism, I wanted to find a way to offset her symptoms," Everhart said.
She said she hopes Queen City Pop Up will bring her a full time business. She has a day job as a career adviser at the Buffalo Employment and Training Center.
"Queen City gave me a wonderful opportunity to get my name and the products out and to help other people," Everhart said.
She hopes to give back to the community, just as Buffalo Barkery has.
"We are able to do what we love, and we are able to help animals in need. We work very closely with the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter," said Lamarelli.
They donate the proceeds from specific treats, t-shirts, and much more to the shelter. The other Summer 2019 participants include Buffalo Boho, Curtis Chameleon Books and MMW Popcorn Bar. Previous participants include Rust Belt Love, Rudeboyz and Yar Mos Muse.
Queen City Pop Up started in November 2014, but was placed on hiatus last summer due to a lack of interested businesses.