The increasing new businesses on the West Side could aid in chipping away at the high unemployment rate in the Buffalo-Niagara region.
Rebecca Ballard, administrative assistant for On the Job Ministries, says the opening of retail shops and grocery stores has helped bring a lot of positive momentum on Grant Street. This positive momentum is leading to many employment opportunities on the West Side.
Ballard also mentioned that places like the West Side Bazaar, which is scheduled to move to a bigger space on Grant in November, are serving as incubators for many more new entrepreneurs to start their small businesses.
“It has been exciting to see more businesses open on Grant Street in the past year,” she said. “It's exciting to be a part of this new growth and investment on Grant Street, providing opportunities for employment for the West Side Community. There is still a long way to go, but it is a start in the right direction.”
Ballard believes that all this movement on the West Side can help improve the region’s overall unemployment statistics. The New York State Department of Labor shows, unemployment rates in the Buffalo-Niagara area increasing from 7.7 percent to 8.4 percent over the last year.
“I am very hopeful that this development will continue to stabilize the West Side, provided that small businesses are allowed to thrive so the money can stay here and be reinvested,” said Ballard.
On the Job Ministries, where Ballard has worked nearly two years, jobs are provided as well as training for young adult’s ages 16 to 24 on the West Side. By Lakisha Forde and Narmeen Karzoun