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.


Business

Willowbrook Farms, a 68-year-old food distributor in the Niagara Frontier Food Terminal, will close its doors Friday after 68 years in business. The company, which also has a popular cash-and-carry store in the terminal, has been sold to Latina Boulevard Foods. Willowbrook will deliver its customers' orders and keep the store open until Friday. After that, the store wil…

Business

Buffalo Roots has opened a seasonal store at Walden Galleria, testing the brick-and-mortar market after five years of digital and art show sales. The store sells Buffalo-themed gifts, clothing and accessories designed by local artist Eta Rottenberg. It's located on the mall's lower level near Oakley and Lucky Brand Jeans in the former True Religion store. Rottenberg …

Local News

Some people wanted to thank him for making them smile. Some people just thought he would be fun to hang out with. All of them wanted to see Tristan Lambright in the flesh. Saturday evening, about 300 people attended Touchdown for Tristan, a charity benefit at Expo Market featuring Buffalo Bills game streaker Tristan Lambright. Originally designed to help Lambright defra…

Business

The holiday edition of Queen City pop-up is a great place to shop for Christmas gifts. The program, administered by the Buffalo Urban Development Corp., hosts a handful of emerging retailers in vacant commercial space in the city. The temporary brick-and-mortar location lets merchants test the waters in hopes of opening permanent shops downtown. What I love about it is …

Business

If you go Saturday, here is how some local business districts are making the most of the marketing push: A free shuttle service will pick up and drop off shoppers every two blocks on Elmwood Avenue from Forest Avenue to Allen Street, stopping every 15 minutes from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. There is free parking in the Gallagher Ramp, 489 Elmwood Ave. It's provided by Council …

Business

A woman walked into Bloomsbury Lane Toy Shoppe in Lancaster last Christmas, almost in tears. She had spent several hours wandering aimlessly through a big box store, trying to find presents for children on her list. She had gotten nowhere and was feeling overwhelmed. Crystal Newman welcomed the woman into her toy store, took her coat, and gave her a glass of wine. Ne…

Business

Get on your marks, shoppers. The big day is almost here. Never before has Black Friday been so scattered and segmented. The official kickoff to the holiday shopping season begins on Thanksgiving at some stores, on Friday in others. Some stores open before dinner, some open after dinner, and some don't open on Thanksgiving at all. Some stores will open on Thanksgiving, c…

Business

You've heard it all before. Black Friday isn't what it used to be. The deals aren't as great. People would rather shop online than brave the crowds. Sales start as early as August, dampening shopper enthusiasm. And stores open on Thanksgiving, stealing Friday's thunder. But in Buffalo Niagara, Black Friday has changed in another important way: it's no longer a magnet fo…

Business

Boulevard Mall will hold "sensory-friendly" visits with Santa Claus for children with special needs. It will provide time with Santa in a more calm environment, which is less stressful for children with special needs such as those on the autism spectrum. The special hours will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. on Sunday and from 9 to 11 a.m. on Dec. 3. Photo packages w…

Business

Think you know Buffalo? A new trivia game will let you prove it. "You Gotta Know Buffalo – My Hometown Edition" poses questions about people, places and events tied to Buffalo. The 500-question card game retails for $19.95. It is a product of Store (716), a local Buffalo-themed apparel and gift designer. “You Gotta Know Buffalo is for anyone who knows how to say ‘Sca…

Business

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is that people have a little bit of extra cheer in their hearts, ready to give and share. Charities depend on that giving spirit this time of year. Even though a charity’s needs continue year round, the biggest bulk of their donations are received in November and December. If the spirit moves you to share your wealth…

Business

Bon-Ton will close at least 40 stores through next year, the company said. The company has not yet released a list of locations it plans to shutter, so it's not yet clear whether any of Western New York's eight stores will be affected. The department store has struggled with declining sales and a high debt load. The company lost $135.4 million during the first three …

Business

Runner's Roost, a popular athletic footwear store in Orchard Park, has been bought out by one of its employees. Michelle Fox, who has worked at the store for 10 years, acquired 100 percent of D.J.B. Shoes' stock. D.J.B. Shoes is Runner's Roost's parent company. Fox, an experienced runner, said she will keep the store's "core values and traditions" alive and does not …

Business

When Greg Stennis opened his bar, J.P. Dwyer’s, on Webster Street in 1997, the street was a shell of its former glory. Gone were the days when men and women would ride the Carpenter Line bus to downtown North Tonawanda for a fountain soda at the Sugar Bowl or shop at G.C. Murphy Co. Retail and restaurants had moved to shopping malls and strip plazas. As was the case wit…

Business

Grocery delivery has officially gone live at Tops Markets. The Amherst-based grocer partnered with Instacart, a third-party smartphone app that sends independent contractors to the stores to shop customers' lists. Deliveries are made in as little as an hour. Customers can enter their ZIP code into the Tops website, TopsMarkets.com/Instacart, to see if the service is …