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Samantha Christmann

I cover retail for the Buffalo News and write the Discount Diva column each Monday.


Business

Our frigid winter has sorted Western New Yorkers into two camps: people who complain about the weather, and people who complain about people who complain about the weather. However you feel about our winter, you can’t deny it has been a destructive one. Everywhere I turn, someone’s pipes are freezing or their gutters are ripping away.Paul Dreher knows a thing or two about …

Operations have been suspended at Frank Wardynski & Sons, a more than 100-year-old sausage factory on Buffalo’s East Side.The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service confirmed Friday the plant had been temporarily shut down, but declined to say why. Owner Raymond “Skip” Wardynski did not immediately return calls seeking comment.Wardynski’s Meats…

Nova Photo on Hertel Avenue will go dark Saturday after 25 years in business – the latest casualty of the digital photo revolution.In the good old days, customers would bring in as many as 200 rolls of film a day for processing. Nova made money selling the film, then made more money developing it.Today, people don’t need film – they don’t even need cameras. A consumer can …

Forget lugging sacks of potatoes and schlepping shopping carts through the grocery store. Now, with the click of a few buttons, someone will gather your groceries for you, bag them and deliver them to your doorstep.Dash’s Market is the first supermarket in Western New York to offer online grocery shopping with in-store pickup or home delivery, jumping on a national trend m…

God, I love takeout food. Eating something yummy prepared by someone else and not having to do dishes afterward is like this little mini vacation – a reward for slogging through daily life. Sure, it costs more than cooking at home, but I’ve found that keeping an allowance for splurges actually help me stay on budget better than depriving myself of life’s simple pleasures.I…

Lifestyles

Prohibition has been dead for more than 80 years, but only recently has alcohol production again begun to flow in Buffalo.The city gets its second craft spirit maker Saturday when Black Squirrel Distillery opens to the public, offering its first 200 bottles of rum-like spirits.Recent changes to state laws have made it cheaper and easier for small upstarts to open distiller…

Families and individuals who earned less than $60,000 last year can get free assistance digitally filing their federal and state income tax returns at nine sites across Western New York.Computers with secure internet connections will be available for use, and representatives from the state Department of Taxation and Finance will be on hand to teach taxpayers how to create …

Local News

In 2009, the Field & Fork Network held a one-day conference in Wyoming County, inviting local farmers and local food buyers to meet and figure out ways of sourcing and selling more small, local food in Western New York.The response was overwhelming. Hundreds of local growers, ranchers, chefs and food service representatives arrived from across the region’s eight counties. …

Youth is wasted on the young. I’m only 36, but even I know that. When I’m scraping myself off the couch to play catch with my kids after work, I long for just a tenth of the energy I spent dancing at Phish concerts.But I guess we need all that vim and vigor to fight our way through the dumb decisions we make as we find our way in the world – especially the financial ones. …

Business

Kallie Iamarino crosses the border from Canada as often as twice a week to shop in the U.S. Sometimes alone, sometimes with friends, but always with a heavy wallet, the Hamilton resident zooms across the bridge and heads for the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls. After a few hours of pounding the tiles, ringing up sales and filling shopping bags, she goes back home, laden w…

Featured

Lexington Co-operative Market, a member-owned natural foods market in Elmwood Village, announced Friday it will open a second store twice its size on Hertel Avenue.It’s the latest addition to an expanding galaxy of specialty and traditional grocery stores that has suddenly, it seems, made Buffalo and the surrounding area home to a bounty of quality grocery choices – and wi…

Business

Buckle up, thrill seekers.Darien Lake will start construction on two new rides this month – Brain Drain for its water park and Rolling Thunder for its main park. Each ride will be ready for its park’s respective opening day – May 9 for the main gate and May 16 for the water park.Brain Drain is a 70-foot-high waterslide that sends riders on a 38-foot-per-second free fall. A…

One of the best commercials to come out of last year's Super Bowl was RadioShack's "In With the New" spot, which showed a crush of 80s icons, such as Alf and Hulk Hogan, tearing apart one of the company's outdated stores to make room for a new, better one. It gave people hope that the beleaguered, 94-year-old electronics chain could turn itself around. But in the wake of …

RadioShack plans to close roughly half of its Western New York stores, according to a list released by the bankrupt company.The list of “initial” locations on the chopping block shows 11 of 23 local stores, including ones at Boulevard Mall and Walden Galleria. Stores on Transit Road in Depew, Veterans Memorial Drive in Batavia, Tops Plaza on Erie Road in Derby, Tops Plaza …

Some women like jewelry. Some prefer roses. But for me, nothing is more thrilling than when my husband says, “Baby, let’s do the budget.”It’s so romantic sitting on the couch with our laptops, me reciting each charge on our debit card statement and him typing it all into an Excel spreadsheet. Nothing beats knowing the fridge is stocked, the bills are paid and a surprise c…