Washington Market Marches On

As the Genesee Gateway project continues to progress, I’ve been imaging just how that whole district will look and feel in a couple of years. Thanks to Rocco Termini, the Ellicott District has shaped up nicely. And there are signs that Main Street and Washington are starting to play catch-up thanks to the investments made by Schneider, Epstein and Iskalo. For some of the pioneering businesses, these are the signs that they have been waiting for. Not only are people living in the area, but the amenities are making headway as well.

I recently stopped into the Washington Market to talk to Amy Khoury who’s family owns and operates the business. She gave me a tour of the market and pointed out some of the changes that customers could expect to see in 2010. “It took us a while to get a sense as to what our customers really want, “she explained to me. “As with any business, there was a transitional period where we needed to undergo a learning curve. I’ve always had a vision for what the market should look like… how it should flow… it’s so big that it’s hard to know where to start. I think we’ve been here long enough that we can take that original vision and make it work.”

One of the first steps that the Khoury family is making is to bring onboard a consultant. The expert that they have hired spent eight years working at Wegmans, which should help to enhance some of the operational and inventory systems. “I think that people will be happy to know that the market is performing well,” Amy added. “We’re really excited to make the market the best that it can be. I’m a ‘behind the scenes’ person – working with someone with so much market experience will be helpful. At the same time we’re looking for updated input from our customers… we want to hear from them – what they like and what they would like to see changed.”

Some of the immediate changes that customers can expect to see include the addition of more comfortable lounge areas – one in front and one in back. The market wants to become a destination for people who want to hang around in a café-style setting, complete with WiFi and a coffee bar serviced by a barista. As for the market, Amy tells me that one of the plans is to increase the variety of products, while limiting the number of brands. “Instead of carrying ten hot sauces,” she told me. “We’ll stock a couple of the most popular ones. That will give us the ability to add more products. We want to have all of the essentials – we get a lot of people who swing by on their way home from work. Most of our grocery shopping is done around 5pm. During the day we want people to stop in for a bite to eat, work on their laptops and enjoy our coffee selections. In the evening we offer a different dinner selection every night that customers can view on our website. Even the number of vegetarian selections has increased due to customer demand. It’s important that we become a one-stop-shop.”

To be honest, there was a time (before the transition) when I wasn’t quite sure that the Washington Market would make it. That would have been a major blow to downtown – to see a business like this fail just before things began to heat up. Thankfully, the Khoury family is in it for the long haul. They are happy with the progress that has been made, and they’ve worked out a lot of the issues that were handed to them when they took over the business. Now is the time to take the market to the next level – to show their customers that they are here for them and they’re prepared to make ongoing investments to ensure that the market plays its part in the already palpable renaissance of a number of downtown districts.

The Washington Market
461 Ellicott Street
Buffalo, NY 14203-1544
(716) 362-3181
 

About the author  ⁄ queenseyes

Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Catalyst behind the Pierce-Arrow Film Arts Center. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette. Themed New Years mayhem at various locations. Next up: Porchfest... Also offers package tours of the city for groups or individuals. Contact Newell Nussbaumer | Newell@BuffaloRising.com

22 comments
Pegger
Pegger

It's a start towards making lving downtown living more possible.

ilovemesomebuffalo
ilovemesomebuffalo

I believe the wm is an asset to downtown buffalo and love what they have done so far. I wish they had later hours (esp saturday) and open on sundays. but maybe that will come with more success. good luck!

Vsherry
Vsherry

"Palpable renaissance" is a bit hyperbolic. "Budding resurgence" or "budding turnaround" more aptly describes downtown's growth. We must remember what downtown was, what it has become, and what it is. Improvement is, indeed, palpable but modest.

ReginaldQMerriweatherIV
ReginaldQMerriweatherIV

Maureen's has a second store on main st. in the heart evil Williamsville...Will you continue to support them now that you know this?

The Kettle
The Kettle

Yeah as long as the Hyatt atrium and convention center were gone it wouldnt cost too much to extend the street to Niagara Square. I think it gets real tricky and expensive extending Genesee west of the square to the Erie Basin.

KarlMalone
KarlMalone

Sounds like a great idea if they were into losing money.

Lego1981
Lego1981

I agree, it would be nice to come downtown on a Sunday and actually go somewhere besides Spot for a coffee and snack. Especially if you already live downtown (which I plan in the next few months). Having everything closed on Sundays will not bring people, having things open and things to do will.

LouisTully
LouisTully

right, but what else would need to be removed besides the convention center? hyatt's atrium, anything else from the hyatt? i'm familiar with the area i'm just not sure what else it would have to cut through. really, we're only talking about 600 to 900 meters which is nothing really, should be simple. from where it stops at huron and where it stops at franklin, right? but i thought when it was being discussed on here a while back people were throwing out the estimates into the 100's of millions. that seems like we have better uses for money like that. and what's the return going to be, increased flow right? as it is now, you can get from genesee to genesee by vehicle. inconvenient, yes. but so are the hundreds of one way streets throughout the city and no one is talking about making those two way.

snax
snax

It should open on Sundays in 2010. There's no where to get breakfast downtown.

The Kettle
The Kettle

That is tied to replacing the convention center. As long as it still stands the street grid will remain the way it is.

clockhill
clockhill

This is exactly the kind of business that pops up when a neighborhood begins to activate. It's great to hear that it's also well run and carefully managed.

Congratulations and thank you!

LouisTully
LouisTully

wasn't the idea of reopening genessee suggested some time back? and wasn't the general consensus that it would be far too expensive for a questionable return to do anything else than leave that idea on the back burner. like the way, way back burner.

The Kettle
The Kettle

Dont forget Holley Farms on Pearl.

KarlMalone
KarlMalone

I eat there twice a week, good stuff. The perrier is always flat. But a fair amount of neighborhood business owners eat there and so it is always great to talk business with people who manage and run businesses.

pwallinder
pwallinder

I love Washington Market and their super-friendly owners-

The food and the service is top notch!

NiagaraPopcorn
NiagaraPopcorn

Some of these ideas for the market seem like just what is needed for the diverse constituencies it serves. Great.

brownteeth
brownteeth

Hmm... you sound suspiciously like Queencity and Chrstine.

JohnQBuffalo
JohnQBuffalo

Echoing Termini's commitment to downtown by being willing to take on the Statler...

I feel compelled to repeat two things....

1) The Atrium must be demolished and Genessee Street must be re-opened, as well as other east-west corridor streets blocked by Main Place Mall and the Convention Center.

2) Look at a satellite map of Elm-Oak which has had nearly all the buildings demolished between the streets. A high speed, high traffic ateriole filled by a deadspace acts as a barrier that is killing development east of the city.

SOLUTION: MOVE THE ELM-OAK TO JEFFERSON!

The Market would be so much more if it were integrated to both downtown and the surrounding neighborhood.

orlanmon
orlanmon

"Now is the time to take the market to the next level - to show their customers that they are here for them and they're prepared to make ongoing investments to ensure that the market plays its part in the already palpable renaissance of a number of downtown districts."

Also now is the time for customers to step up to the next level and patronize these establishments. Those in and outside the city of Buffalo who want to see this kind of redevelpment in the Ellicott district continue; get your green out help and make it happen. Case in point I seldom buy flowers anywhere else in the burbs and try to patronize Maureens as much as possible. Another greay Ellicott district business that needs everyone's support.

http://www.maureensbuffalowholesale.com/

Millz88
Millz88

The Washington Market is so convenient for residents of the Ellicott district. It's so nice to be able to walk to the store to pick up small grocery items rather than drive out to the Niagara St Tops or Wegmans on Amherst St. Although it doesn't carry everything that a chain grocery store does, it fulfills basic needs. The food is awesome. Hopefully as the neighborhood continues to grow, they will extend their hours on the weekend. Great asset for the city.

Perry
Perry

Love The Washington Market. Great food. Besides lunch, I periodically stop there for food-to-go when leaving downtown after work. Nice family too! Look forward to their changes.

Lego1981
Lego1981

Sounds like great news! With more development downtown, this market shall see it's customer base only grow. Till then, I look forward to bringing my lap top to the new cafe area soon and enjoying them good egg sandwiges and coffee.

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