Tonawanda News — Over the years, Budwey’s stores have been all about change.
They’ve been located on Oliver Street, on Division Street, in the City of Tonawanda, in Amherst, in Kenmore, in Newfane. They’ve been called Bells, Foodliner, Super Duper, Jubilee or Budwey’s the Best. They’ve expanded and consolidated and adapted and expanded again.
But the biggest change is yet to come.
Store owner Frank Budwey, 64, announced Oct. 15 he plans to sell his three grocery stores in North Tonawanda, North Buffalo and Newfane to Olean Wholesale and retire from the supermarket business, bringing an end to decades of Budwey-owned stores in the community. For a man who’s seen a lot of changes in the supermarket business over the years, this is just one more.
“All the time, the changes ... they’re just what you do,” Budwey said during a recent interview at his office at the Division Street store. “They were easy to adapt to it, because that’s what we do.
“It’s alway change, in our business.”
The early years
The first store to bear the Budwey name was opened in 1922 at 452 Oliver St., North Tonawanda, by Saltonia Budwey, who had immigrated to the United States from Lebanon with her husband and young son.
“She didn’t even speak the language. It was a little difficult for her running it, but she was making money,” Frank Budwey said of his grandmother. “In that time, the men were working at the factories, some of the women ran the little stores.
“On Oliver Street, you had all different nationalities there. You had bakeries ... you had the McCarthy fruit market, Anastasi meat market. We were just one of them. You’d go down the street and buy everything you needed. They didn’t have the big freezers like they do now. People would buy daily.”