Tonawanda News — As shoppers came and went on Tuesday outside Budwey’s in North Tonawanda, many expressed shock that a family-owned establishment they have been frequenting for years would be selling to an outside company.
Some stated they would continue to patronize the store as long as the prices stayed low, part of its appeal, while others blamed the 2012 opening of the nearby retail giant Walmart for running a local businessman out of town.
Budwey bitterly opposed the opening of a Walmart supercenter off Niagara Falls Boulevard for years — at times earning him the ire of a group of Walmart supporters in the community — saying it would threaten local businesses. He did not cite the store’s opening as a reason for selling.
Roscoe Daugherty, of North Tonawanda, who stood outside of Budwey’s along Division Street shuffling through a box of pumpkins, said he believed Walmart’s opening was a reason for the sale and noted that the store’s low prices, customer service and local control are what drives his devotion to it.
“This is the only store I get my groceries,” he said. “But I’ll keep coming if the prices stay the same.”
Wheatfield resident Ann Teglash said she has been shopping at the North Tonawanda store for the last 20 or 30 years and would continue her patronage as long as the products, name and employees remain under new ownership.
Budwey said the move to sell the family business is bittersweet, but cited his age and his desire to “spend more time with the grandkids” as motiving factors.
“I’m going to miss seeing all the employees, all the customers and all that stuff that goes with business,” he said. “I want to thank the public in Erie and Niagara counties for supporting us for the last 86 years. Without the customers and staff we wouldn’t have been able to survive these many years.”
Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.