Samantha Christmann, The Buffalo News
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Samantha Christmann

I cover retail for the Buffalo News and write the Discount Diva column each Monday.


Summer is over. The last of the swimsuits are on clearance racks. And stores have begun selling ornaments, artificial trees and other Christmas merchandise. Yes, Christmas. When it comes to the holidays, some national chains have no chill. Macy's has started decking the halls as if Santa were coming down the chimney tonight. Big Lots put out its Christmas wares we…

Looking for work? Seasonal hiring has begun at many local retailers, as stores begin stocking up on workers to help with the busy holiday shopping season. -- Macy's announced it will hire roughly 80,000 seasonal employees to work its Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores, call centers, distribution centers and online fulfillment centers across the country for this year's hol…

ALDI will unveil a new look at its Jamestown store next week. The store, at 930 Fairmount Ave., will reopen Wednesday with the company's latest decor and layout concept after being closed for renovations. ALDI has committed to investing $1.6 billion in 1,300 stores across the country by 2020. Improvements include airy ceilings and natural lighting as well as expan…

Royal Car Wash, has opened it first location in Lancaster and is offering unlimited free washes until Oct. 13. The car wash is located at 6645 Transit Road, between the Cracker Barrel restaurant and Salvatore's Grand Hotel. Royal plans to add another four locations in the Buffalo Niagara market over the next five years. The company opened its first location more t…

A game room in Lockport has added an escape room. Casual Dragon Games has added "Dr. Gorzinski's Lab", a live-action game in which players are given an hour to solve puzzles, find the cure for a terrorist toxin and escape the room. The game room, at 136 Walnut St., sells board games, card games and role-playing games, as well as miniatures games, in which players sim…

Wegmans has placed near the top of another Fortune "Best Places to Work" list. This time, the Rochester-based grocer has come in at No. 7 in the "Best Workplaces for Women." Data from more than 400,000 anonymous employee surveys was used to compile the list, which considered hundreds of businesses from varying economic sectors. Women gave feedback about their companies'…

Don't call it a food court. The food hall planned for a former Red Lobster storefront outside the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls is a destination in itself, says its developer, the Niagara Falls-based Mercado Development. Dubbed Hip City, the "chef-driven" food hall will host a mix of local and regional eateries that will share communal dining space. At 16,000 squa…

A Buffalo man drove a pickup into 11 parked cars on Taft Place south of Hertel Avenue early Saturday morning, Buffalo police reported, an incident that highlighted neighborhood displeasure with what residents say are overflow problems from a nearby strip club. Joshua Jones, 36 of Buffalo, allegedly sideswiped and crashed into the cars with his Dodge Ram after leaving th…

The new Whole Foods store in Amherst seemed to have everything when it opened Friday. Customers marveled over giant jackfruit, plucked ripe pluots and even snapped up living, breathing Venus flytraps. But not many shoppers noticed that one of the rarest, most exotic species of all was right under their noses: a Real Housewife of New Jersey. Rosie Pierri wasn't at the…

Rob O'Connor was happy chopping fruit and making guacamole at his job at Whole Foods in Rhode Island, but Western New York still tugged on his heart. So, when he heard his employer would open its first store in the Buffalo region, he jumped at the chance to transfer back home. He's not alone. When Whole Foods opened its first local store to much fanfare in Amherst on Fr…

Raise a glass, Hofbrauhaus fans. The German-style beer hall has secured its required number of investors for the new downtown location and is on track for a spring opening, according to franchise owner Kevin Townsell. There are a "handful" of shares still available for accredited investors, running $50,000 apiece. But enough have been secured that the company can move f…

Whole Foods opened its doors in Amherst this morning to a line of customers eager to check out the grocer's first store in Buffalo Niagara. About 400 people extended across the front of the store shortly before it opened as customers waited to be the first inside. The grocery store, which features a bocce court and a pool table, as well as a lineup of organic products,…

Niagara Hobby and Craft Mart, a 31-year-old craft store that closed this week, will reopen for one last time Saturday, the company announced on its Facebook page Thursday. Dubbed an "appreciation day," the store will hold a 70 percent off sale. "We are immensely grateful for the gracious and in many instances personal messages delivered to us by telephone, email and …

After 31 years in business, Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart has closed its doors. The store displayed elaborate, working model trainsets and sold slot cars, dollhouses, miniatures, model airplanes and other pastime products. It was known for its restored 1949 train caboose parked out front. That caboose is now listed for sale on SterlingRail.com for $85,000. For mo…

The University at Buffalo and its Blackstone LaunchPad program will hold UB's first Entrepreneurs Festival Thursday. The festival is geared toward entrepreneurs at any stage of business development. It will feature entrepreneurship demonstrations, networking and a talk with Lloyd Taco Factory co-founder Pete Cimino. It will wrap up with Pitch Wars, an idea-pitch competi…