Two of Western New York’s oldest names in the grocery business are in the express lane, finalizing a transaction that will make one the owner of the other’s store.
Joe Dash confirmed for the first time Thursday what many in the grocery industry have already presumed: that Dash’s Market will buy Frank Budwey’s namesake store on Kenmore Avenue.
Budwey is in the process of selling the three Budwey’s stores in North Tonawanda, Newfane and on Kenmore Avenue to his supplier, Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative.
“After that deal goes through, or simultaneously, we will buy the Kenmore Avenue store from the co-op,” Dash said.
While Budwey still has not finalized a deal with Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative, Dash has bought the real estate at the Kenmore location and has been hashing out details of a sale with the co-op.
He has also been hashing out big plans for the Kenmore store.
“It’s going to be an Anglo-Italian market with an extra large variety of Italian items to take care of the demographics in North Buffalo,” Dash said. “We’re hoping to get in after the first of the year and spend the next 18 months remodeling the entire store and building it into a world-class facility.”
Dash’s would operate the store as is for a short period to get a feel for how best to renovate the store, but once changes are finished, the store will have Dash’s signature Market Side Cafe with an expanded variety of Dash’s prepared foods, a full coffee shop and pastry cafe, a full-service floral department and expanded deli, seafood and meat departments.
“It’s the first time we’ll have all this under one roof,” Dash said.
The store will also feature two new Dash’s concepts – fresh pasta and fresh mozzarella-making operations.
“And when I say pasta, I mean ravioli, gnocchi, tortellini – a wide variety of different cuts of pastas – and you know, spinach pasta, squid pasta, hot pepper pasta,” Dash said. “It will be a grand assortment of fresh-made pasta. I don’t think anybody’s doing that in Western New York.”
Since the Kenmore store is a bit larger than any of its current locations, Dash is also looking into the possibility of adding a complementary tenant to the store.
No decisions have been made yet about whether Dash will close his current Hertel Avenue store, which is just around the corner and less than a mile and a half away. Dash has said for years that he doesn’t have enough room to complete the kind of upgrades he wants at that location.
“We’re trying to get all our stores to have the same product offering and shopping experience. It’s tough to do with that location, if not impossible. I’ve worked on it forever,” Dash said. “It’s a great location and it’s served us well. I just have to figure out what the future looks like for that location.”
Burt Flickinger III, a supermarket industry expert and managing director at Strategic Resource Group with strong ties to the local grocery market, said customers are willing to travel farther for the quality and service Dash’s offers. He thinks there is enough demand to support both locations.
Either way, the sale is “great news,” Flickinger said.
“Joe Dash buying Frank Budwey’s store is the best possible news for Buffalo consumers,” he said. “Joe and his team run one of the best operations in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metro market. Dash’s operation will keep Budwey’s high level of conditions and standards.”
Frank Budwey agreed.
“He should do a great job there. He’s a terrific operator, so it should be interesting to see what he develops Kenmore into,” Budwey said.
Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative is expected to sell the Budwey’s stores in North Tonawanda and Newfane, but there is no word yet on a potential buyer.