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Samantha Christmann

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


Business

The Eden kazoo factory is a blast from the past in more ways than one. Kazoos are nostalgic on their own, but a factory that makes toys? In America? Weren't those all shipped off to China years ago? Nope, turns out the Original Kazoo Co. has been cranking out kazoos on Main Street in Eden since 1916. What's more, the little metal instruments are still produc…

Business

At a cost of $141 per year – per television – you may be looking for a way to view your Spectrum cable subscription without the added expense of leasing the cable company's digital converter equipment. But if you have a little bit of technical savvy, there are ways to get around the $11.75 a month charge that Spectrum customers will be facing for every TV set that conne…

Business

Spectrum Cable is about to get more expensive for some customers. The company is upgrading its digital television service, so customers will no longer be able to screw their cable line directly into the back of their TV. Instead, they'll need to install a set-top box, for which the company will charge as much as $11.75 per month. That's more than the monthly cost of Net…

Business

No-frills grocer Price Rite Marketplace will open its new store April 15. The store, in the Maple Ridge Plaza at 4224 Maple Road, is the company's fourth in the local market. Other locations are in Kenmore, Cheektowaga and on Elmwood Avenue. The 28,000-square-foot store will carry fresh produce, natural and organic products, ethnic products, private label and nationa…

Business

Everyone thought Bon-Ton would be the next shoe to drop for McKinley Mall. When the now-bankrupt department store announced in November that it would shutter 40 of its stores, experts worried one of them would be at McKinley, possibly spelling the beginning of the end for the Hamburg shopping center. The mall still is in trouble – it’s in danger of defaulting on the …

Business

Wegmans' customer service outranks that of any company in the supermarket industry, and any company in any industry, according to a report released Thursday by research and consulting firm Temkin Group. The Rochester-based grocer got an 86 percent overall customer experience score in the 2018 Temkin Experience Ratings, besting Texas-based H-E-B and Florida-based Publix,…

Business

Spears & Co. Fine Jewelers has opened in the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls. The locally owned and operated jewelry store fills 1,500 square feet in the former Jared Vault, which recently closed. It is located across from Nike and Under Armour. Spears & Co. sells brands such as Tiffany and Rolex and, in addition to fine jewelry, sells certified loose diamon…

Business

Families of children with autism and other special needs usually steer clear of Chuck E. Cheese's, with its loud music, bright lights and animatronic band. So the children's entertainment arcade now opens two hours early on Sunday to offer a toned-down version of itself for those kids to enjoy. On the first Sunday of each month, Chuck E. Cheese's will offer Sensory S…

Food and Drink

If the only kielbasa you've ever had was from Hickory Farms, you've never had kielbasa. Nowhere was that more apparent than at the Broadway Market on Monday afternoon, where eight homemade and commercial sausage makers plated their best stuff before a panel of 11 judges as they competed for the title of Buffalo's Best Kielbasa. http://buffalonews.com/2018/03/27/who-m…

Business

My grandparents were first-generation Americans, whose parents settled in North Tonawanda straight from Poland. They also gave great money advice. Since everyone is Polish on Dyngus Day, here are some Polish money proverbs – though they may not be Polish in origin – to ponder over your pierogi. “When a girl is born it is like having six thieves invade the house.” OK,…

Erie County

Most school districts in Erie and Niagara counties will get more money from the state in the coming year, but they're going to have to account for that money much more closely in the future. The districts will see an average state aid increase next year of 3.45 percent in money for programs and services under a state budget deal approved early Saturday morning, accordin…

Business

Consumers in the Lumber City have a new food option: the Vegan Grocery Store at 321 Oliver St. It might seem odd that a small, specialty grocery market would open when the grocery wars are reaching a fever pitch; especially after natural and organics behemoth Whole Foods has entered the local market. But such hyper-specialized brick-and-mortar retailers are thriving, ev…

Business

It's official: Uniland Development Corp. has joined forces with Eastern Hills Mall owners Mountain Development Corp., bringing the mall one giant step closer to its proposed transformation as a mixed-use town center. Uniland sealed the deal with a $14.5 million payment to a Mountain Development Corp. affiliate, according to documents filed in the Erie County Clerk's Off…

Business

On your marks, brides. More than 600 designer gowns will be up for grabs today and Sunday. A store full of wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses and evening gowns have been sitting in the former Alfred Angelo Bridal store at 1010 Niagara Falls Blvd. in the Town of Tonawanda since the company filed for liquidation in bankruptcy court in July. Now, the owner of the plaza is c…

Business

Western New York's newest Family Dollar store will open Saturday in Lackawanna. The small-format convenience retailer is located at 121 Ridge Road near Route 5. This will be the third location in Lackawanna. Family Dollar was acquired by Dollar Tree for $8.5 billion in 2014. The North Carolina-based chain has more than 8,000 stores in 46 states.