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Samantha Christmann

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


Business

Next time you’re at a party, mention that Chick-fil-A is opening its first local store and watch what happens. I’ll bet you a Ted’s chicken sandwich it will be this: Some guests will high five, rave about their favorite menu item and tell you about that one time they drove to Erie, Pa., just to get their hands on a chicken biscuit. Other guests will shake their heads in…

Business

John Ecklund has taken the helm at Boulevard Mall on behalf of Zamias Services. Ecklund was an employee of Pyramid Management Group, where he served as general manager of Walden Galleria until 2013. Most recently, he was a property manager for Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. Before beginning his career in property management, Ecklund worked in law enforcement. Zamias Ser…

Business

In 2018, the eldest millennials will turn 37. Their generation is greater in number than the baby boomers, and their purchasing powers are just beginning to peak. So it’s no surprise the consumer landscape will continue transforming as retailers adapt to keep up with millennial preferences. As the first digital-native generation, millennials’ expectations are vastly dif…

Prospectus

The new year rang in some complex new bookkeeping measures for employers in New York State. As of Jan. 1, employers in New York State are required to give workers paid leave in order to bond with a child, care for a sick relative or help loved ones during a family member’s military deployment. It will phase in over four years. This year, workers are entitled to up to…

Business

Who: Nicola Ballard, co-owner, Rudeboyz Artworks What she’s doing: Rudeboyz’ space at 527 W. Utica St. is a clothing and accessory boutique, art co-op and retail incubator. Owners Nicola and Qean Ballard make clothing, shoes and accessories using custom painting, screen printing, heat press and airbrushing. They also craft purses, wire-wrapped jewelry and artwork. The p…

Business

Who: Joseph Francabandiero, owner, Dough Life What he's doing: Dough Life restaurants serve raw cookie dough that is scooped like ice cream and served in cones and dishes. The dough is made using treated flour and doesn’t contain eggs, which makes it safe to eat without baking. The first store, which opened at the Walden Galleria in May, drew lines 300 people long an…

Business

They say we’ll have self-driving cars in the future. Well, in many ways, the future is already here. Automotive technology is advancing every day to make driving safer, easier and more pleasant. Several of those futuristic features are already standard in today’s vehicles, or soon will be. Though Uber expects to have its Elevate pilot running in Los Angeles and Dubai…

Obituaries

Aug. 9, 1932 – Jan. 25, 2018 When Patricia Blake was a young mother, one of her five children severed his finger in a kitchen door. With trademark stoicism, she retrieved the finger from the floor, tucked it into a snow-filled Dixie cup, and drove both the son and the Dixie cup through a blizzard to Mercy Hospital. A seasoned nurse, she took control in the emergency roo…

Militello's Complete Luggage and Leather Goods Center, a longtime local business in the University Heights district, will close its doors. Established as a shoe repair store in 1946, Militello's transitioned to luggage sales and repairs under the second-generation family ownership of Dominic Militello. When he retired in 1984, longtime employee Wayne R. Bush bought the …

Business

The Wegmans store at 3740 McKinley Parkway in Hamburg has begun piloting a click-and-collect program for the Western New York market. Instacart customers can now shop and pay for groceries online or in the Instacart app, then pull up to a designated area at the curb and have groceries loaded into their trunk by a Wegmans employee. Once customers place their orders an…

Business

Chick-fil-A has finally confirmed the location and opening date of its first Western New York restaurant. As the Buffalo News reported in June, Chick-fil-A will open a restaurant in Cheektowaga this fall. It will open at 1753 Walden Ave. in the former Famous Dave's restaurant near Walden Galleria. "We look forward to sharing details about the confirmed opening date, …

Business

H&M, a fast-fashion retailer based in Sweden, will open a new location at Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls USA. The 21,000-square-foot store will carry clothing for men, women, teens, newborns and children; and have a store-within-a-store format for accessories. It is slated to open this summer. The store will be located in the mall's new wing across from Forever…

Business

Lyft has released its most common drop-off destinations in the Buffalo-Niagara market since it opened for business locally in June. They include: Buffalo Niagara International Airport in Cheektowaga Greyhound station, 181 Ellicott St. University at Buffalo, North Campus Walden Galleria in Cheektowaga SUNY Buffalo State KeyBank Center Hyatt Regency…

Business

The former flagship Record Theatre store is one of several properties up for sale to settle the estate of Leonard Silver, the store's late owner who died in March. In all, five properties at the corner of Main Street and Lafayette Avenue will be sold at private auction. Included are the iconic, 28,560-square-foot store at 1768 Main St., a 5,470-square-foot former garage…

MJ Mechanical Services, a design-build mechanical contractor, has acquired Northeast Mechanical, a Depew-based installer of commercial and residential HVAC systems. Roger Hoffman, Northeast Mechanical's prior owner, will stay on with his staff of 60 employees at the Depew facility through the transition. Over the next year, the Depew operations will be integrated into M…