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Tod Martin said an interesting thing about his decision to convert the long-abandoned Wendy's on Main Street in the heart of downtown Buffalo into an office for his small ad firm. "It's the kind of creative environment that we flourish in." Condominium and apartment projects throughout the downtown area indicate other people have the same feeling. Being downtow…

In Monday's Discount Diva column, I shared a few of my favorite places to find books on the cheap. Now it's your turn. Where do you shop for books? Do you have a favorite library branch? How about a great Web site or book club? ---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

     Pano's restaurant, the iconic Greek eatery on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, reopened today after closing briefly for a $1.3 million makeover.      What do you think of the new look?      Do you think the pricey renovations will inspire other Elmwood Avenue owners to invest in their properties? Will it attract development and…

The roof caved in on Wall Street this week, but thanks to the big rally on Thursday and Friday, the stock market ended up finishing the week just about where it started it.      It was a wild ride, nonetheless, sparking fear in investors, who watched the value of the 401(k) accounts and their stocks plummet early in the week as turmoil engulfed Wall Street.…

My brother-in-law gave me a 2-liter beer growler for Christmas from the Ellicottville Brewing Co. After I drained this  fancy container of its precious brew, I wondered where could I find a tap to refill this little brown jug? The results of my search appear in the "Comparison Shopper" column at the bottom of Monday's MoneySmart section. If you have a favor…

Janice Okun's article today serves as the ultimate shopper's guide to stretching your family's household budget. Going down the list of shopping venues, she lines up their pros and cons and busts popular shopping myths along the way. From farmer's markets and discount grocers to warehouse clubs and super centers, she tells you how to make the most of each. Now it's your t…

An execution of sorts took place in Niagara Square on Tuesday. Leaders of unions and contractors cut up the giant inflatable rat that has shown up at many work sites where strikes were under way or the use of nonunion workers was being protested. Union leaders say they came to see the rat as antiquated and a negative image for labor. Will you miss seeing the rat? -- …

You've heard our take on the costs of having a baby. Now it's your turn to have your say. How accurate were we? Did we miss anything? Our comparison of breastfeeding and formula feeding pointed out a lot of hidden costs. How did they compare to what you've paid to feed baby? How many of the costs were optional? Our comparison of disposable and cloth diapers used the pop…

   When Krispy Kreme first opened on Niagara Falls Boulevard eight years ago, there were days when line of cars wound all the way down Brighton Road. But getting in the parking lot only meant that you then had to get in line behind people, 60 or more on some days.    At least while you were waiting, you could smell the heavenly aroma of those original …

Going green is all the rage. Spurred on by the fear of a warming planet, many are changing the way they live and shop in hopes of taking a lighter toll on the planet.While some go green out of a sense of social responsibility, others are lured by the promise of having more green in their pockets through lower energy bills, more responsible purchasing and tax write-offs. Ho…

Guess what? The Buffalo Niagara region is not among the nation's cheapest places to buy a four-bedroom house with a two-car garage.      That seems contrary to so many of the national housing surveys that list the region among the lease expensive in the country.      But Coldwell Banker's newly released Home Price Comparison Index said Buffa…

It's been a tough year for General Motors, with slumping sales and high gas prices. But it will mark an important milestone Sept. 16, with its 100th anniversary. The local celebration, in the Town of Tonawanda, takes place this Friday and Saturday. GM's local operations are smaller than they were decades ago, partly because some of those operations -- the plants now run b…

  It took two months, but Erie County Executive Chris Collins got his way on one small measure of IDA reform.      The Industrial Development Agency board voted, 11-to-7, Monday to put all of the agency's professional services - from legal and accounting work to public relations - up for bid every five to seven years.      The measure h…

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