Samantha Christmann, The Buffalo News - Page 65 of 74
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Samantha Christmann

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


Shoppers in Western New York love to debate which mall is the region’s best. Walden Galleria and the Fashion Outlets have their fans, while others are fiercely loyal to the Boulevard, Eastern Hills and McKinley malls.It’s true that all malls were not created equal, but not everyone knows that almost all of our malls fit into different classifications – making any com…

Grocery shoppers are beginning to sour on sugar – so Wegmans is working to reduce how much of the refined stuff is in its private-label foods.Wegmans said it is not trying to dictate how people eat. Rather, it is responding to what consumers have already demonstrated they want in the products they buy.The move also helps the company prepare for new sugar labeling require…

Since my kids were newborns, I’ve taken them out for strolls, even in the dead of winter.A pediatrician once explained to me how important it is to get kids out into the fresh air, even when it’s cold, and the kids have always loved it. As long as they’re bundled up all snuggly, it’s not too windy and the temperatures aren’t significantly below freezing, we’ll …

Pete Augustine and Christopher Koch had been close friends since they were teenagers. Over the years, their friendship only grew stronger.As adults, they began their careers side by side at New Era Cap Co., the hat maker founded by Koch’s great-grandfather. Augustine joined New Era in 1990, the same year now-CEO Koch became vice president of sales. The two moved up the r…

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid has officially gone live, so if you need help paying for college, the clock is ticking. FAFSA applications aren’t due until June 30, but some funds are available on a first come, first served basis, so get cracking.While you’re thinking about paying for college, it’s a good time to really educate yourself on the risks of s…

The Boulevard Mall will replace its food court with a full-size Dick’s Sporting Goods store, but the mall’s popular children’s play area will not disappear. And two current, but undisclosed, restaurants will relocate elsewhere in the mall.Dick’s signed its lease with the mall Monday to build a 55,000-square-foot, full-service store on the site of what is now the ma…

The Small Business Administration will open Disaster Loan Outreach Centers in Erie and Wyoming Counties to assist those affected by the November snow storm.The SBA will be offering one-on-one assistance at the West Seneca Recreation Department’s ice rink building, 1250 Union Road in West Seneca beginning Wednesday through Jan. 13. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday thr…

I’m not usually one for New Year’s resolutions, but I’m considering a few I saw in a recent post on Buzzfeed.com called “19 Mind-Numbingly Easy New Year’s Resolutions for Lazy Slobs.” It included such rousing goals as “Go outside sometimes,” “Go get that thing you dropped under the bed,” and “Get out of bed after your first alarm. Just once. Just to s…

Tops Friendly Markets has formulated a new “price lock guarantee” list, which will kick in Jan. 11. The list includes more than 300 items across several product categories, which will be sold at locked-in, discounted prices until March 7.Items on the new list were chosen according to consumers’ most popular purchases. Consumers’ tendency to seek out healthier items…

Paul J. Kolkmeyer, a developer and former CEO of First Niagara Financial Group, has completed his purchase of five downtown buildings from longtime landlord David L. Sweet.The sale of three of those properties closed in October. The final two – the Rand and Main Court buildings – closed Tuesday for a total of $8.4 million, according to records from the Erie County Cler…

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo vetoed a bill to extend the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program, an environmental remediation program that has benefited several high-profile redevelopment projects in Western New York.The bill sought to extend the availability of tax credits under the program until March 2017, authorize $300 million in bonding authority for the Superfund program thro…

If you thought the shopping season was over, think again. For Discount Divas and Discount Dudes, the most exciting bargain-hunt of the year has just begun. With lots of folks all shopped out – or financially tapped out – stores are entering their leanest months. To boot, clearance sales will be everywhere.Now, my friends, is the time to pounce. Here’s what to grab.Gi…

When Barb Conlan receives a Christmas gift she doesn’t like, she doesn’t even dream of returning it to the store.“I feel guilty returning stuff, especially when it’s something you know someone saw and thought, “Oh, she would love this!” Conlan said. “Sometimes I’ll even wear it, just because I feel bad.”Knowing someone returned a gift she bought hurts, to…

As shoppers head out for the ‘second shopping season’ - the season of returns - it seems a good time to recall some of our favorite old stores that have long-since closed.The Western New York retail scene continues to evolve with new stores like Cabela’s and Nordstrom Rack, where future generations may make memories of their own. But for now, the rest of us cling to …

Fortunately for parents this year, there is no runaway Tickle-Me-Elmo-type present that has parents scrambling from store to store or scouring the black market for impossible-to-find gifts. But there are plenty of favorites in high demand. Here are the hottest gifts burning up wish lists in Western New York, according to local retailers.1. Beats by Dr. Dre.Made famous by t…