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Samantha Christmann

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


Business

GNC will close 200 of its stores, it announced Thursday as part of its first quarter earnings report. The vitamin and supplement retailer has not said which stores will close, and said those decisions will not be finalized until the company has finished renegotiating its current leases and evaluating relocation possibilities. GNC has stores in the Boulevard Mall, McK…

Business

Wegmans will finally unveil its two-story megastore at the Natick Mall in Natick, Mass., Sunday. The store will have three "firsts" for the Rochester-based grocer: It's the first Wegmans with shopping on two levels. Many of its stores have mezzanine-level seating, but not grocery departments on a second floor. It's the first store to feature Wegmans' new restaur…

Columns

When I was a sophomore at North Tonawanda High School, Mandy Steingasser was a senior. She was kind, cool, openhearted and beautiful. Everything that I wanted to be. A devoted Grateful Deadhead, she wore the oversized Guatemalan sweaters and delicate hemp necklaces that I coveted (all my sweatshirts were from Hills). Mandy managed to be bubbly and laidback at the same t…

Business

Wegmans has long championed sustainability, so why doesn't it support Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's recent proposal to ban single-use plastic bags? "We know from experience that it's possible to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags by educating customers about reusable bags and reminding them to bring plastic bags back to our store for recycling," said Jason Wadsworth, ma…

Business

Buffalo Fermentation is creating quite a buzz with its HempBucha; a mashup of kombucha and cannabidiol. Kombucha (fermented tea) and cannabidiol, or CBD (cannabis extract), are two of the trendiest consumer products on the market. "Many think of hemp and CBD and automatically think of marijuana," said Todd Salansky, a co-founder at Buffalo Fermentation, which is know…

Business

Wegmans is out of EpiPens, but the Food and Drug Administration says there is no widespread shortage in the United States like the one affecting patients in Canada right now. Wegmans said its stores are out of stock, and so are both of its suppliers. EpiPens provide automatic injections of epinephrine to provide emergency treatment for people exposed to life-threatening…

Business

Instacart's service fees used to be optional. Not anymore. Prior to an overhaul of the Instacart app's payment screen, it defaulted to an optional 10 percent service fee, which collected 10 percent of the customer's total grocery bill and  gave it to Instacart to keep. If a customer opted to waive the fee, it could manually change the service fee amount to zero. Now,…

Business

The corner of Woodward and Elmwood avenues in the Town of Tonawanda just hasn't been the same since Reid's hot dog stand closed last year. Its loyal customers were dreading their first season in nearly 50 years without a stop at their favorite summertime hangout. No one was sure how long the stand would remain empty or what would become of it. Now their summer plans …

Local News

When Barbara Langdon's son, Finnian, was 4 months old, she found a pea-sized lump on his back. She also noticed brown blotches called cafe au lait spots appearing on his skin. The pediatrician said it was nothing to worry about, but her gut told her something different. Her gut was right. The lump and the lesions were both caused by neurofibromatosis, a genetic di…

Business

It won't be easy to replace Bon-Ton. That is especially true at local shopping malls and plazas that already are struggling as more shoppers stay home and buy online. And it won't be quick, either. It takes nine months to two years to fill an empty department store, according to Jones Lang Lasalle, a commercial real estate solutions firm. Just look at McKinley …

Local News

Buffalo filmmakers are looking for actors to play in their movie, "Klausferatu," which puts Santa on the naughty list. They will hold an open casting call from noon to 3 p.m. May 5 in room F129 of the Dolce-Valvo Art Center during the Niagara County Community College Film Festival, 3111 Saunders Settlement Road in Sanborn. "Klausferatu" is a horror comedy. Actors of …

Health and Fitness

Playing sports changed Mary Wilson's life, and now she wants to use sports to help change other girls' lives. The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation has granted $1.4 million to expand the Western New York Girls in Sports program, which was founded by Mary Wilson and is administered by the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County. The program is designed to get girls involved…

Business

Zara opened at Walden Galleria last week in a huge, double-level space near Dick’s Sporting Goods. When the news was first announced that the Spanish fast-fashion retailer was coming, people lost their dang minds. The store is known for its constantly changing inventory of cutting-edge clothing and accessories for men, women, kids and babies at affordable prices. Whi…

Business

To Gina Pennock, a proposal to rewrite the state's labor rules to require extra pay for last-minute scheduling is a solution to her "horrible life-work balance." She works at a screenprinting shop in Buffalo and often finds out from her boss what time to report back the next day. But to Bob Confer, the new rules are "frightening." He owns a plastics factory in North Ton…