Tonawanda News

March 14, 2014

Budwey will keep NT, Newfane store

By Michael Regan
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Budwey’s Supermarket announced in October that it would shutter its three locations and sell them to an outside company by the end of 2013, to the chagrin of many who had lifelong ties to the store’s history and enjoyed the benefit of a locally-owned establishment. 

But in a reversal on Thursday, Frank Budwey, whose family began the local icon 92 years ago, said after selling its Kenmore Avenue location late last year to Dash’s Market, two other stores in North Tonawanda and Newfane will now remain under his control. 

Budwey, 64, said he changed his mind about the sale due to his family’s longtime connection to the business and denied that a lack of interest from Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative, a Western New York company, was a reason for the change of heart earlier this week.  

“Olean Wholesale was talking to me about it,” he said. “I decided I didn’t want to do that. It was my choice. I had a good offer on the table and I turned it down. We’re back and we’re not leaving.” 

Budwey, who represents the third generation to have ties to the supermarket, told the Tonawanda News several weeks ago that a deal to sell the two locations was still on the table and would be wrapped up in the coming weeks after the completion of legal issues with Olean Wholesale. 

In October, Budwey said all three stores would close in 30 to 60 days, while he planned to stay involved with the business in an advisory role. 

Calls for comment to Olean Wholesale, the company with which a sale was being negotiated, were not returned on Thursday. But whatever the true motivation for Budwey retaining ownership of the two stores, he said he now plans on holding on to them for the remainder of his life. 

“Initially I was thinking it was time for me to retire,” he said. “But I planned on staying in Buffalo, it’s not like I was moving to Florida. I thought that since I’m going to stay local I might as well keep the stores in the community I love and where I was born and raised here in North Tonawanda.” 

The supermarket first opened in 1922 on Oliver Street and was passed down through the family until Frank Budwey took it over from his parents in 1971, after returning from the Vietnam War. He sold the business in 1995 to Jubilee Foods before buying it back in 2000. 

He opened two more locations in Kenmore and Newfane while maintaining the store’s Division Street locale, and was a vocal critic of the city’s plan to allow Walmart to open in 2012 on nearby Erie Avenue. 

Budwey said in a statement released on Thursday that he was thrilled with his decision to continue his ownership tenure. 

“As many customers have wished me well since the announcement of selling Budwey’s, I have been deeply troubled to see the loss of a neighborhood store that the community has come to rely upon over many, many decades,” the press release read. “The recent sale of Budwey’s Kenmore Avenue store will allow me the opportunity to devote and dedicate time and efforts to North Tonawanda where it all began with the tremendous support of our local community.”