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Samantha Christmann

Editor

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

Banana Republic fans have about a month left if they want to shop its Walden Galleria store. That location will close at the end of June, the company confirmed Wednesday. "We always evaluate our store fleet to ensure we have the right stores in the right locations to best serve our customers' needs," said Sheikina Liverpool, a spokesperson for Banana Republic. The…

The public is invited to take a step back in time Thursday and have a look inside the lobby at the Shea's Seneca building on Seneca Street. Schneider Development, which has a $9 million plan to redevelop the building, will be there to share its plans for the historic building. There also will be an overview of private and public-sector projects in progress on Seneca Str…

Two months after receiving major expansion funding, ACV Auctions is ready to hire 100 people. The online automotive marketplace announced Monday it will expand into eight new markets and needs staff to support those areas, as well as its Buffalo headquarters. The new markets will include southern New Jersey; Roanoke, Va; Hartford, Conn.; Boston, Mass.; Cincinnati, …

The former Gilda's Club of Western New York has a new owner: Canisius High School. The Jesuit school will transform the mansion into a fine and performing arts center. Its first floor will have an art gallery and special event venue. It is also developing plans for a music rehearsal space, individual practice space, a recording studio and classrooms devoted to archite…

Walden Galleria has a new breakout food star. Dough Boyz, a purveyor of edible raw cookie dough, opened at the mall last Tuesday and has been drawing crowds ever since. Lines regularly snake outside the store and into the corridor and consist of as many as 300 people. There are roughly a dozen flavors, including chocolate chip, peanut butter and red velvet. The dough…

Wegmans will expand its footprint with a move into Washington, D.C. The Rochester-based grocer will anchor a redevelopment of the Fannie Mae headquarters in Washington, D.C. Wegmans has stores in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia.        

Remember buying cassette singles at Cavages? What about shopping with your mom at Jenss department store? My sister and I used to turn the mannequins' glass eyes so they were looking in different directions. That same sister always grumbled about stopping at Waldenbooks because she knew she would have to drag me out. And don't even get me started on Child World. I ca…

Melodie Baker has accomplished a lot in her 35 years. The Bennett High School graduate earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Buffalo State College in 2005 before going on to earn a master’s degree in executive leadership in 2008. Currently the director of education at the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, she designs, implements and secures fund…

Tops Markets is in the process of buying the Shurfine Foods store on Route 5 in Angola. Tops has the store under contract and is expecting to have its due diligence completed by the end of the month. It hopes to close on the deal during the first week of June, it said. In April, Shurfine began cutting down its hours and closing earlier. Right now, it is in the pro…

Grand Cayman wants Western New Yorkers to come visit, and perhaps the feeling is mutual. This summer, Southwest Airlines will add new flights to the Cayman Islands from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to Owen Roberts International Airport in Grand Cayman. Western New Yorkers can catch connecting flights at the Florida airport, which is serviced by the B…

Lyndon Rive, who led SolarCity as it developed plans to open a massive solar factory in South Buffalo, will leave the Tesla Inc. subsidiary next month. Rive told Reuters on Monday he is leaving to pursue a new startup sometime next year. Rive co-founded SolarCity and served as its chief executive as it was bought out by Tesla Inc. last year. A cousin of T…

Expats in Virginia will soon get a taste of home. Perry's Ice Cream has teamed up with Wegmans to sell 20 flavors of its flavors in nine Wegmans stores. Panda Paws, All-American and Mint-Ting-A-Ling will be among the varieties to appear on shelves by the end of the month. New flavors such as Candy Bar and Cold Brew Coffee & Cream will be available as well, and seaso…

Look, it’s well established that I will go the extra, gross mile to save money. But I’m not “Extreme Cheapskates” cheap, where I’m reusing dental floss or making multi-use toilet paper. I’ll definitely do some things that another person might turn their nose up at, though. I consider my bread perfectly edible once I’ve torn off any little spots of fuzzy, g…

An East Aurora brewery has partnered with a bi-coastal restaurant group to make a signature beer for sale in its New York State restaurants. 42 North Brewing will brew Cayuga Wheat, using New York State wheat malt and the Cayuga grape, which is native to the state. The beer was first served at Patina 250, the group's restaurant in the Delaware North building at Delaw…

Are you ready to star in your own live-action video game? 5 Wits, an interactive entertainment venue, promises to let players do just that when it opens at Walden Galleria June 3. John Pandiscio, director of marketing and advertising for the company, describes the experience as like an escape room with "greater realism, higher quality and more compelling storytelling…