BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — On what would normally be the busiest day of the year with shoppers shoulder to shoulder at 6 a.m., the Broadway Market on Buffalo's east side is eerily quiet.
Shelves are filled with food, but the aisles - traditionally packed with people young and old on this day - are empty with just a small fraction of the typical Good Friday crowd.
“It’s very sad for us," said Margie Ruszkiewicz at Famous Horseradish. "We’ve always had crowds of people coming in on Friday and we understand the situation, it’s just something that is very different for us. It’s very surreal.”
Ruszkiewicz's parents moved to Buffalo from Poland decades ago and have been operating the stand year-round for more than 35 years. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the business hard. But the loss of customers this year is about so much more than the bottom line.
"We miss the people, we really do," Ruszkiewicz added. "We miss seeing everyone’s face, we miss seeing their kids smell the flowers and people tasting the horseradish. That’s the biggest thing we miss about everyone coming here."
At the other end of the market, Malczewski's Butter Lambs and Camellia Meats were also much quieter than usual.
“It’s eerie, it’s weird and it’s sad at the same time," owner Adam Cichocki said. " [It] makes you look forward to 365 days from now hopefully we have something different to look forward to.”
The market has been offering a curbside pickup and has sold Easter care packages online. But the hope for both business owners and shoppers who made their way to the market Friday is that for Easter 2021, the Buffalo staple will be back to normal.
The market is open Saturday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and all year Monday to Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.