Paula Huber is taking her peanut sticks, glazed rings and the rest of her fresh-baked doughnuts and moving them from her longtime shop on Kenmore Avenue to a larger location two miles away on Sheridan Drive.
Huber plans to move her Paula’s Donuts into an empty storefront in a Town of Tonawanda shopping plaza next summer. She had been looking for a new site for her popular store in the Kenmore-North Buffalo-Amherst area because she feared her landlord was selling the building.
Huber said she hopes to sign a lease next week with Sinatra and Company Realty, owner of the building on Sheridan between Colvin and Parker boulevards that includes her future home and Devlin’s Deuce bar.
“It has everything. It has the parking. It has the visibility,” Huber said in an interview.
Paula’s is moving out of the neighborhood on the Town of Tonawanda-North Buffalo border as another local food institution is moving in. Mighty Taco plans to open its 22nd area restaurant in a building next to the Budwey’s grocery store, just down the road from Paula’s.
“It’s just going to upgrade the property tremendously,” said Frank Budwey, owner of the supermarket chain and a member of the partnership that owns the new home of Mighty Taco.
Huber’s selection of the storefront at 2319 Sheridan Drive ends months of speculation about the fate of the original Paula’s Donuts, at 380 Kenmore Ave., which has a devoted following and earlier this month celebrated its 16th anniversary.
Huber has been looking for a new location for some time because she hasn’t been able to work out an extension of her lease, which is up next fall. She opened a second shop at 8560 Main St., Clarence, in April.
She told The News in July that she believes the owner of 380 Kenmore, an entity known as Kenmore-Englewood Properties LLC, which shares the same general ownership as Valu Home Centers, plans to sell the building to make way for a CVS.
Huber said she would be open to staying in the Kenmore Avenue site if her landlord had let her expand within a building that is empty save for her shop.
James A. Quinn, director of real estate for Valu Home Centers and Kenmore-Englewood Properties, did not return a phone call Thursday.
In an interview last summer, he confirmed his company is marketing the site but said no decision had been made about the building’s future, while a CVS official declined to comment on the chain’s plans.
Worried about their favorite doughnut shop, Paula’s legions of fans used social media to tell Huber where to move.
Developer Nick Sinatra – who told The News last summer he would love to have Paula’s as a tenant in one of his properties – reached out to Huber and, with Kenmore officials, encouraged her to consider locations in the village’s business district along Delaware Avenue.
The lack of off-street parking spaces was a concern in Kenmore, because Huber said her customers want easy access to her shop, but the site on Sheridan Drive has ample parking.
This plaza once was home to a Jet Doughnuts, though Huber’s space previously was a Weston’s Hardware Center.
Sinatra pointed out Paula’s is joining three other popular eateries in the same area – Ted’s Hot Dogs, Anderson’s Frozen Custard and John & Mary’s.
The developer said this stretch of Sheridan Drive is one of the more heavily traveled thoroughfares in the Northtowns, and he believes the enhanced visibility will help Huber sell more doughnuts.
“In my opinion, she will get every single one of her current customers to travel from Kenmore to Sheridan, and she’ll get new ones,” Sinatra said. “Her product is that good.”
Huber said she hopes to begin renovations early in the new year. She said the 3,500-square-foot storefront will allow for a larger kitchen and more seating, and perhaps an outdoor dining area along the building.
She expects to open the new shop in late summer and may keep the Kenmore Avenue store open through September or October, when her lease expires.
Paula’s received $8,000 in sales tax breaks from the Clarence Industrial Development Agency for its move into that town, and Huber said Thursday she hasn’t decided whether to seek tax breaks from the Erie County IDA for her latest move.
Huber said she leaves her Kenmore Avenue store reluctantly. She joked that she would lay down in the path of the demolition equipment if anyone tried to tear down the building, and she said her longtime customers are like family to her.
The building at 396 Kenmore Ave., now occupied by Buffalo CDL Training on a monthly lease, is owned by Budwey and partners Peter and Paul Lamparelli, who also own the building that houses the nearby Budwey’s. The supermarket sits to the west of CDL and Valu sits to the east.
Mighty Taco plans to open a restaurant in late winter or spring. It will be under 2,000 square feet but it will have a drive-thru, said Russ Jasulevich, the chain’s chief operating officer.
This is the second Mighty Taco-Budwey’s collaboration, following October’s opening of a restaurant at 537 Division St., North Tonawanda, near the Budwey’s in that city.
Mighty Taco has submitted plans for its project to the city’s Planning Board for approval at its Jan. 2 meeting and plans to begin renovations next month.
The chain was drawn to the CDL building because it’s in a populated area between Kenmore, University Heights and Eggertsville, Jasulevich said. “It’s all location,” he added.