BUFFALO – KeyBank, in partnership with the First Niagara Foundation, is donating $ 1.5 million to support the Westminster Economic Development Initiative’s new West Side Bazaar project. This transformative grant is part of KeyBank’s $ 40 billion national community benefits plan and symbolizes the bank’s long-standing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
WEDI’s current West Side Bazaar, located at 25 Grant St. in Buffalo, is a must-see for locals, business travelers and tourists alike. Since its inception in 2011, it has grown into a crucial small business incubator where new, economically disadvantaged business owners can find a safe and nurturing environment to grow their businesses with mentorship and programming to successfully run a business. To cope with the explosive growth the bazaar has experienced and provide even more opportunities to entrepreneurs, WEDI plans to move the bazaar to a new location at 1432 Niagara St. in Buffalo.
Scheduled to open in 2022, the new West Side Bazaar will quintuple its size and will provide space for 24 restaurants, retail and professional service businesses, test and rental kitchens for independent chefs, classrooms, an event space and seats for more than 75 clients. It will also accommodate nine full-time WEDI employees.
“The West Side Bazaar is a jewel in Buffalo’s crown and is a catalyst for development, opportunity, hope and enthusiasm on the West Side and throughout our city,” said Elizabeth Gurney, Director of KeyBank of Corporate Philanthropy and Executive Director of First Niagara. Foundation. “We are proud to support them in this process which will allow them to offer even more opportunities to immigrants and refugees, and to add more dynamism and economic opportunities to the growing Niagara Street corridor.
“This generous donation from KeyBank in partnership with the First Niagara Foundation is a catalyst for our fundraising campaign to relocate and expand our West Side Bazaar,” said WEDI CEO Carolynn Welch. “WEDI’s mission is to create equity through education and by supporting underserved entrepreneurs as they build their own establishments and achieve financial security – the bazaar is a first expression of their brick and mortar dreams. mortar. The New Bazaar will be an anchor and a destination on Niagara Street, demonstrating that all residents of western New York State can succeed and thrive in a culturally inclusive community.