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Samantha Christmann

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


Business

Tops Markets will replace its entire 55-truck delivery fleet with more efficient vehicles powered by compressed natural gas. The move is expected to reduce Tops’ fuel costs by more than 50 percent and conserve more than 1.2 million gallons of diesel fuel per year.Tops also plans to build a $2 million on-site compressed natural gas fueling station at its Lancaster distribut…

Business

Black Friday was a bit of a bust for retailers, but their loss will be consumers’ gain.Holiday shoppers can expect to find more deals in the weeks to come, thanks to lackluster spending during Black Friday weekend. Retailers expected diluted numbers from Black Friday weekend since they started promotions so early and kept them going so much longer than usual, experts said.…

Business

Cyber Monday is the least tangible of the super shopping days – a blitz of promotions and flurry of sales that seems to happen far away in the abstract ether of the World Wide Web. The national shopping event is a powerhouse marketing tool for e-commerce, allowing online retailers to latch onto the hype stirred up by Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, with the promi…

Business

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas: wreaths, holly, and traffic jams on Niagara Falls Boulevard. But somehow, car-crammed parking lots just don’t inspire the same warm, fuzzy feeling as the moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow.Finding a parking spot is one of the more annoying aspects of holiday shopping. Tracking people back to their cars doesn’t work becaus…

Lynn Kinsella shoveled and shoveled to dig out her Aurora Theatre in East Aurora last week. Her main concern was the theater’s marquee, a 60-year-old, irreplaceable treasure. She was able to uncover 4 feet of snow from the top of it, but heavy ice and snow from the eaves above came crashing down, shattering some neon lights. When families gather for a free screening of “El…

Local News

Black Friday, once an electricity-filled shopping day propelling a mad rush of consumers to stores, played out more like any typical weekend shopping day – stores were busy, but not mobbed.Thanksgiving Day shoppers gobbled up savings on Thursday, but at a more subdued pace than in years past, with doorbuster lines about half as long as last year. Hundreds of people still l…

Business

Alexis Howard pushed a cart and mop bucket through the Walden Galleria Thanksgiving night, picking up trash and emptying garbage cans in a crisp, green uniform emblazoned with her employer’s name, DTZ.All of her family members had to work that night, too, so she had eaten her holiday dinner at a friend’s house earlier. By the time she left work at 7 a.m., she would have wo…

Business

Today we give thanks for our blessings. We give thanks for our families, our health, our homes; and for Black Friday, or Gray Thursday, or whatever it is we now call the holiday formerly known as Thanksgiving.Despite emphatic disapproval and the threat of boycotts, retailers will jumpstart the holiday shopping season today, kicking off sales earlier than ever before. Thoug…

Business

Neither snow, nor rain nor gloom of night will keep Shelly Berenbaum away from Western New York stores this week.For 15 years, she has traveled from Toronto to Buffalo to soak up the deals and excitement of Black Friday. She arrives on Thanksgiving, stopping first at a restaurant for a traditional American turkey dinner then checking into a motel with her husband. From the…

Business

“Frozen” is still hot.Merchandise from Disney’s movie “Frozen” is among the most sought-after toys for children this year, according to the National Retail Federation’s Holiday Top Toys Survey. It knocked Barbie out of the No. 1 spot – a spot she held for the past 11 years.One in five parents said they plan to buy “Frozen” merchandise this holiday season, while 16.8 percen…

With all the hoopla over stores opening on Thanksgiving, people who shop on Black Friday don’t seem so crazy any more, do they? Suddenly, waking up early the day after Thanksgiving to take advantage of deals is starting to look downright sensible in comparison.If you decide to shop on Black Friday, consider these tried and true ways to maximize your time.•Stay home on Than…

Business

Snowstorm or not, Patty Unger’s pregnant daughter woke up Wednesday morning wanting salt and vinegar potato chips. So the Hamburg resident zipped a snowsuit over her pajamas and trudged across a snowmobile path to a Tops grocery store about two blocks away on McKinley Parkway.When she got there, she found the store empty of employees except for two department managers who …

Buffalo

Food supplies continue to run low in areas hardest hit by this week’s storm, but even as some relief begin trickling in, the disrupted supply chain is affecting stores across Western New York and beyond.Tops Markets’ only food warehouse that supplies stores in Western New York, Rochester, Syracuse and Pennsylvania was buried in snow until Wednesday and still faces problems…

Wegmans has reopened its store at 4960 Transit Road in Depew. The parking lot and roofs have been cleared of snow and the store is stocked with food.“We’re ready to go,” said Michele Mehaffy, a Wegmans spokeswoman.Though reduced, staffing is at “a pretty good level.”The store was able to receive it’s regular delivery last night. Workers who had been stranded at the store o…

Several retailers in areas affected by the snow storm remain closed today.Walden Galleria is closed today. The mall said it is communicating with Cheektowaga officials to determine when it will be able to reopen.“We’d like to be open, but obviously we want to keep people’s safety in mind and respect the driving ban,” said Matt Bader, the mall’s general manager.The mall’s p…