First all vegan grocery store comes to WNY

NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) - The Vegan Grocery Store is the first and only exclusively vegan grocery store in Western New York. It opened its doors just weeks ago at 321 Oliver Street in North Tonawanda.

Gabrielle Richards owns the store her husband, Jason, and mom, Judith.

Richards says the next closest vegan grocery store is in New York City. The family bought the property in October and completely renovated the store front.

"Veganism is growing, especially in the past couple of years," she said.

Only about six percent of Americans identify as vegan, but according to a recent report from research firm, Global Data, shows that reflects a 600% increase just over the past three years.

Richards has been vegan for the past 14 years and she knows the issues that come along with the lifestyle. 

One of those issues is grocery shopping because Richards says you have to go to so many different locations that you need.

The Richards say they've been busier than expected for the first month of business and see the need for more exclusively vegan stores and restaurants in the area.

The number of businesses catering to the lifestyle is growing.

There's now a vegan donut shop in downtown buffalo, Fry Baby Donuts, and a chocolate shop on Elmwood, Thinking Elvish Fantasy Chocolate. A vegan cafe, Root + Bloom Cafe and Market, will open in the same location this summer.

The vegan grocery store is already looking to expand by adding local produce and a grab-and-go lunch section.

The store is open Monday-Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. and Sunday's 11: a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

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