It looks as if the former Budwey’s Market on Kenmore Avenue in Buffalo may not reopen as a grocery store after all.
“We’re not going to close Colvin, we’re not going to close Hertel, but Kenmore is a question mark,” said Joe Dash, owner of Dash’s Markets.
There is a possibility the Kenmore Avenue site could be sold or redeveloped into something new, he said.
Dash said his original plan when he bought the former Budwey’s store late last year was to close his Hertel Avenue location and consolidate to the new Kenmore Avenue site, which offered more space and more accessible parking. He had plans to invest up to $4 million on extensive renovations of the former Budwey’s, transforming it into a high-end Anglo-Italian market, complete with fresh pasta and mozzarella-making operations.
“We’ve been doing business in that neighborhood for 40 years. We thought it would be a natural transition into the Kenmore Avenue location, but at the end of the day, that’s not what people wanted,” Dash said.
Prevented for years from upgrading and expanding the aging Hertel location because of space limitations, he had planned to relocate to the larger Kenmore Avenue store and hoped to serve customers there with a vastly updated store concept. But he said customers didn’t like that idea and were extremely vocal about it.
“We have very loyal customers who didn’t want us to close Hertel, and we wanted to support what they wanted,” Dash said.
Further complicating matters are the Department of Transportation’s plans for major road reconstruction on Kenmore Avenue between Starin Avenue and Main Street from April to October next year and in 2016, he said.
As recently as May, when Dash’s closed the store to prepare for an upcoming remodel, he had said he planned to go full speed ahead with the renovations plans.
When the Kenmore Avenue location closed, sales increased dramatically at the Colvin Boulevard and Hertel Avenue stores, indicating many former Budwey’s customers migrated there.
For now, Dash said, he is taking a “slow, prudent approach,” weighing options, and has not decided the Kenmore site’s ultimate fate.
“I haven’t made a decision on anything. We’re looking at our business model, looking to see if there is something else we can do with the plaza, if we can redevelop it into something else,” Dash said.
In addition to the stores on Colvin Boulevard in the Town of Tonawanda and on Hertel Avenue, Dash’s Markets also has locations on Main Street in Clarence and on West Klein Road in Amherst.