I think it’s been about five minutes since I last reported a store closing.
Seriously, it feels like I get word of a newly shuttered shop or shrinking retail chain every day. Since the beginning of last year, we’ve lost 54 stores at our five local malls alone.
Bye bye, Bebe. So long, Sears. Farewell, Wet Seal.
But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to get excited about in Buffalo Niagara retail. Here are some new stores that are entering the market (for a change) and one special, little ice cream shop that is expanding.
Chick-fil-A. Man, you guys are obsessed with this place! The Atlanta-based fast-food chain has been scouting locations in the Buffalo market for quite some time, and you’ve kept tabs on them every step of the way.
You watched their every move, drooling, as they announced their first upstate New York location in Albany, and watched them creep closer with plans to open in Plattsburgh, Cicero and Greece.
Your wait for a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich and Waffle Potato Fries may soon be over. After more than a year examining real estate in Erie County, the company has been looking closely at two specific locations in Cheektowaga and Amherst.
Though the company won’t confirm any locations yet, I’ll hopefully have an announcement for you sooner than later.
Zara. You’re a little nutso for this one, too. I can’t say I blame you. I haven’t shopped there yet but, after researching the place, I can’t wait to. Bustle.com calls it “the only store that needs to exist.” It has great prices, better quality than other fast-fashion retailers and new plucked-from-the-runway fashions that are delivered to stores every single week.
The first local store is coming to Walden Galleria this winter. It’s going to be pretty huge, with two floors and measuring 30,309 square feet. That means there will be plenty of room for all the fashionistas who are sure to flood the place.
Royal Car Wash. We all love Delta Sonic, but there will soon be another option for people with dirty cars. The Rochester-based company will open its first Erie County location at 6645 Transit Road in Lancaster mid-August and plans to open four more over the next five years.
Royal doesn’t do interiors or oil changes and it doesn’t have gas stations or convenience stores. The ordering process is automated with no upsell and there are no tipped workers. You can decide for yourselves whether those are pros or cons.
There are three things I know you will like, though. Royal has free, high-suction vacuum stations, offers unlimited basic washes for as low as $9.99 per month and will give everyone free, unlimited car washes for the first 30 days after it opens.
Lake Effect Ice Cream Shop. You’ve been savoring their artisanal ice cream by the pint for years now, picking up heavenly flavors like Big Wayne’s Cake Batter and Whiskey Brown Sugar at the grocery store. Maybe you’ve visited their shop on Canal Street in Lockport.
Well, Lake Effect just opened another, more centrally located ice cream parlor at 1900 Hertel Ave. in the old Vasili’s Express. And they’ve got two new signature sundaes: the North Park, which features two scoops of Paula’s Red Velvet Donut ice cream; and the Bella Italia which is based around its Revolution Coffee ice cream.