Tonawanda News

Local News

January 22, 2009

BUSINESS: Budwey’s Supermarkets expanding to Newfane

After a year of interest, Frank Budwey is expanding his chain of grocery stores to Newfane.

Budwey has purchased the former Shurfine store, which has been vacant since it closed a year ago. Budwey said he looked at opening the store just after it closed, but was unwilling to lease the store from its owners.

“This year we ended up being able to buy the property instead of being a tenant,” Budwey said. “That’s what made the difference.”

Newfane Town Supervisor Tim Horanburg said he and State Senator George Maziarz, R-Newfane, have been trying to help Budwey secure help from the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency, even though it’s tough to get help for retail businesses.

“We’re asking for a PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreement) on it, and to see if it’s eligible for low-cost power,” Horanburg said. We’re also looking to see if he can avoid sales tax on new equipment.”

Retrofitting the aging building with new equipment won’t be cheap, with Budwey predicting his expenses at $1 million for new registers, coolers, freezers, deli cases and various other equipment. Another $250,000 will be spent to improve the building and parking areas.

In tough economic times, it’s uncommon to see so much being invested in a new venture. But Budwey and his partners Peter and Paul Lamparelli are confident the new store will prove profitable for a couple of reasons.

For starters, it will be the only game in town. The nearest supermarket of comparable size is the Tops in Wrights Corners, five miles away.

And Budwey said the supermarket industry hasn’t been hit like others.

“Being in the food business, with economic times as they are, people have more home-cooked meals instead of going to restaurants,” Budwey said.

The new store will employ 25 full-time and 55 part-time workers. Only three of those employees will come from Budwey’s store on Kenmore Avenue. The rest, Budwey said, will be new hires.

Contact reporter Daniel Pye at 693-1000, ext. 158.

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