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Samantha Christmann

Samantha Christmann covers retail for The Buffalo News and writes the Discount Diva column.


Business

There seem to be more people enjoying Christmas this year. Consumer confidence is up and, as a result, so is Christmas spirit. More people are shopping online than ever, but many people are also shopping “the old-fashioned way,” in real stores. Toys R Us is no longer an option for toys, so Target, Kohl’s, Walmart, Amazon; even drug stores, supermarkets and gas statio…

Business

Panera Bread customers new to the MyPanera Rewards Program can  get one free bagel per day through Dec. 31. You may also get a free pastry as a welcome reward as soon as you join. No purchase is necessary. Spreads such as cream cheese cost extra. The free bagel offer will load daily and can only be redeemed once. Sign up at PaneraBread.com. MyPanera can also be ac…

Business

Downtown North Tonawanda will soon see two major developments: the opening of a nano brewery and an overhaul of the former North Tonawanda History Museum building that will bring a SPoT Coffee and other new tenants to the street. The former G.C. Murphy's department store at 54 Webster St. is about to get a significant face-lift. The aluminum and glass façade will be red…

Business

This will be our first holiday season where shopping at Bon-Ton stores and Toys R Us is not an option. We often reminisce about the glory days of Christmases past, when we spent our holiday shopping budgets at iconic Buffalo stores like AM&As and Hengerer’s. But the Buffalo Niagara market has lost a ton of slightly less nostalgic shopping options in just the last…

Business

First, the Nanula family partnered with Paula Deen. Now, the Clarence family's business is backing a bourbon brand from Grammy-winning musician and producer Neil Giraldo — also known as Mr. Pat Benatar. The Nanula brothers' Nanco Group provides capital and human resources. The bourbon is produced in Michigan, where its parent company Steel Bending Spirits is located.…

Business

Wegmans has added curbside pickup at another store, 8270 Transit Road in Amherst. Customers can order and pay for groceries through the Instacart app, set a time to pick them up, then pull up to a designated spot and wait as an employee loads the groceries into their car. Groceries can also be ordered online at Instacart.com. Customers will receive a phone number to cal…

Business

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who like corn dogs, and those who pretend not to like corn dogs. Both can get a price break today at Sonic Drive-In, 3601 Union Road, Cheektowaga. The chain is offering the cornmeal-battered, tubesteak on a stick for just 50 cents all day long. Corn dogs regularly cost $1.39. The deal goes for as long as supplies …

Business

Airbnb has reached an agreement with Allegany County to charge hotel and motel room taxes on Airbnb listings in the county. The short-term rental site began collecting and remitting taxes on Saturday. The company also collects taxes in Cattaraugus, Orleans and Wyoming counties, but not in Niagara, Erie, Chautauqua or Genesee counties. It has tax agreements with 27…

Local News

For Chad Snyder of North Tonawanda, the icy waters of Lake Erie were the best — and worst — part of Saturday's Polar Plunge to benefit the Special Olympics. Snyder dove head first into the 47-degree water and surfaced to an even colder 39 degrees. He lost his shoe. He went back in for it and lost the other one, too. "I thought I'd never make it back to the beach," he…

Business

Back when I was a kid, all we got for Christmas was an orange in our stocking and a kick in the pants and we liked it! Not really. I was a child of the go-go '80s, when everything was plastic and hair spray and excess and greed. I didn’t go to sleep with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head on Christmas Eve; I wanted Jem and the Holograms under the tree. (I got one…

Gusto

How many shopping days left until Christmas? Not enough. Fortunately, you can buy just about any kind of Buffalo-themed merchandise for any Western New Yorker or far-flung expat on your list, and they will feel like you've thoughtfully selected a meaningful gift for them straight from the heart. Something about a person's love for their hometown does that. But we thi…

Business

Come Thursday morning, there will be two camps of people: those thrilled that Chick-fil-A has opened its first restaurant in Western New York and those who vow to boycott it. One thing is for sure: If Chick-fil-A is not in the mouths of Western New Yorkers Thursday — it will be on their lips. Hundreds of people are expected to line up for its 6:30 a.m. opening, traff…

Business

Ask any kid's favorite uncle the surefire way to a kid's heart and he'll tell you: boogers, flatulence and poop. This year, toymakers are cashing in on those easy giggles. Gross-out toys are nothing new. Gooey Louie, the snot-based game, came out in the '90s. Garbage Pail Kids came out in 1985. Before that, kids made their own fun, answering "What's grosser than gros…

Business

There are a whole lot of people who can't do their Christmas shopping at Toys R Us this year. Bloomsbury Lane Toy Shoppe is ready for them. It has piles of doughy, sandy Floof for them to sink their hands into; a drum set for them to pound away on and a Perfect Petzzz "adoption center" filled with plush puppies awaiting a new home. The Lancaster toy store added mo…

Business

Jay Schiller started his mattress retail chain on Broadway in the 1960s and made City Mattress a household name in the Buffalo Niagara market. After more than four decades building its business here, the company moved its headquarters to Bonita Springs, Fla., in 2007. Today, it has just four stores here, in Clarence, Amherst, Lancaster and Hamburg; while it has 14 locat…