There's more than the Easter season to look forward to at the Broadway Market.
A new Wi-Fi network has been installed, and a new $500,000 Buffalo Police substation and a $464,000 commercial kitchen are opening in about a month on the building's first floor.
The Kitchen @ The Market, a licensed commercial kitchen that food entrepreneurs can use to grow their small businesses, will be available for businesses in the market as well others in the community.
For start-up food businesses, the kitchen is "critically important" because often start-ups do not have the resources to purchase commercial-level equipment, said Mayor Byron W. Brown Friday during the annual kickoff of the Easter season at the Broadway Market.
"Whether it be production, a food truck, a caterer, lots of small businesses cannot afford the equipment involved in running a food business so the city thought it would be a great idea ... to have a licensed commercial kitchen right here in the Broadway Market," said Kathleen Peterson, manager of the Broadway Market.
Interested parties may rent the kitchen through Westminster Economic Development Initiative – WEDI – which was hired by the city as the kitchen's part-time manager, Peterson said. WEDI will handle applications and do the scheduling.
Amenities in the kitchen include a six-burner stove, a double-convection oven, refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher and food prep tables – all stainless steel.
When the kitchen opens, it will operate 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturdays will be for public programs, featuring visiting chefs and healthy cooking classes. Down the road, the goal is to have the kitchen open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Peterson said.
"The commercial kitchen will open up a tremendous horizon of possibilities," said Fillmore Council Member David A. Franczyk, whose district includes Broadway Market.
The new facility will be "really great," said Amanda Page, owner of The Sweet Whisk chocolate and pastry boutique, one of the businesses at Broadway Market that may be using the kitchen. "I'm really hoping it brings a lot more people into the market, a lot more businesses, a lot more customers, everyone from the community."
The Buffalo Police Substation at the Broadway Market will be staffed by eight to 12 officers from about 8 a.m. to 1 a.m., seven days a week. They'll patrol inside the market and out in the Broadway-Fillmore community, Brown said.
"We're confident that it will make for a safer market experience and a safer experience for those who live and visit this community," Brown said.
Earlier this week, Brown announced that free public Wi-Fi has been installed at the market through Blue Wireless. The wireless network provides hotspot access points at the market. It's the latest phase of Buffalo's growing public wireless network, which was launched along downtown Main Street in 2015. Last year, Blue Wireless completed the installation of the JEFFREE Wi-Fi network along Jefferson Avenue between Best Street and East Delavan Avenue.