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Samantha Christmann

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


Business

Wegmans shoppers with vision impairments will have a new tool to help them find what they need at the store beginning this fall. Wegmans has partnered with an augmented reality program called Aira, which connects shoppers to a live operator who can direct them through the store to their products via a smartphone or smart eyeglasses. Customers download the free app to…

Business

Patrick Kaler, CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara, has been named the New York State Tourism Executive of the Year by the New York State Hospitality and Tourism Association. Kaler was nominated for the award by Jill Delaney, president and CEO of Visit Albany. NYSHTA is an advocating association for the travel and tourism industry. He has also been elected chair of the U.S.…

Parishioners will cut the ribbon on Notre Dame Academy's new building Sunday. Notre Dame Academy's new second location will receive a blessing by the Rev. Bryan Zielenieski, the pastoral administrator at Our Lady of Charity Parish in South Buffalo and canonical administrator of the school. The two campuses will be divided by grade. Students in pre-K through fourth gr…

Local News

The Orchard Park Central School District held on to too much money and raised taxes despite budget surpluses for two school years, an audit by the New York State Comptroller's Office found. The district, on average, underestimated revenue by $1.7 million and overestimated appropriations by $2.8 million, according to the report. Despite the extra funds, the district rais…

Local News

Frontier Central School District does not have an adequate written policy to guide district officials when procuring professional services, an audit by the New York State Comptroller's Office found. The audit found the district's lack of a proper policy resulted in it not having the right documentation for the hiring of nine vendors who were paid a total of $466,960 for…

Local News

A record number of students participated this year in Mayor Byron Brown's 17th annual Reading Rules! Kids Summer Reading Challenge, with 2,554 of them successfully meeting the goal. Buffalo students who completed the reading challenge were feted Saturday at an awards ceremony at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Participants are required to read and write a summ…

Local News

The fisherman who died when his boat capsized in Lake Ontario Saturday was identified as Carl F. Hazel, 66, of Albion, the Orleans County Sheriff's Office said Sunday. A second man was rescued after their boat sank in 5- to 7-feet waves Saturday morning in the lake, officials said. The two men were fishing about nine miles off the Orleans County shore in roughly 500 …

Business

Bob Confer was at his North Tonawanda manufacturing plant last month when a call came in. A child had stuck his arm into a ventilation opening in a set of Confer Plastics pool steps and gotten stuck. Aside from some scratches, the child got out OK. But what if they hadn't? What if the child had been underwater, unable to breathe and unable to get free? Confer didn't …

Business

Consumer-conscious parents packing vegan lunches and buying organic cotton T-shirts this school year might be concerned to hear everyday school supplies contain toxic ingredients that children should not be exposed to, according to tests done by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. None of the chemicals found in the supplies exceeded levels allowed by law. But PIRG …

Business

Every time I pass a Family Video rental store, I wonder to myself, "How the heck is that place still in business?" It's not that I want them gone. No way. In fact, I love the nostalgia factor of walking the aisles with my kids and browsing the discs like we used to do in the olden days. But in the digital age, the idea of actually getting off the couch and traveling …

Business

If you want to take one last ride on a Bon-Ton escalator and say your goodbyes, the time is now. The bankrupt chain will be gone after Wednesday. The liquidators who bought the company will close all 212 remaining department stores next week, including eight in Western New York. Some stores could close earlier than Wednesday if they run out of inventory, but everythi…

Business

Yes, clothing from the 1990s is vintage now. New Era Cap Co. is tapping rampant '90s nostalgia with its latest line of retro hats, partnering with sports apparel brand Nautica – a cornerstone of '90s fashion. The New Era X Nautica Collection was inspired by Nautica's brightly colored Hydro Race, Scuba and Color Block jackets of the '80s and '90s. Some of them, the…

Business

Three stores are closing at three area malls. Pottery Barn Kids will close its store at Walden Galleria on Sept. 23. It is currently selling its floor models and displays at 50 percent off, and has marked the rest of its inventory down by 30 percent, including beds, furniture, rugs, decor and other housewares. After eight years, Tee Shirt University will close its…

Business

The University at Buffalo School of Management has named Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker the 2018 Buffalo Niagara Executive of the Year, chosen through a vote by past honorees and the school alumni association's board of directors. Dedecker is the president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, which oversees more than $485 million in charitable assets. …

Business

Allpro Parking has taken over operations at four Ellicott Parking lots. The lots are located at: 270 Main St. 100 Pearl St. 65 W. Tupper St. 30 Court St. No changes will be made to the way the lots are operated, Allpro said. The lots serve more than 300 customers per day. Allpro previously took over operations at Ellicott's lot near the airport, 4313…