Tuesday, March 24, 2015

BreadHive approaches 1 year anniversary

BreadHive co-owner Allison Ewing
             BreadHive Cooperative Bakery, 123 Baynes St, is coming up on its one-year anniversary.  To celebrate their one-year anniversary on April 1, owners Allison Ewing, Victoria Kuper and Emily Stewart, are doubling the number of days that their window is open. Their window will be open six days a week. 
  The bakery has  a walk-up window where customers can come and order their bread, bagels, pretzels or granola.
   “It will be a lot easier to market to people within a walking distance,” Ewing said.  
   Ewing and Kuper said that they are making an effort to have more signage in different languages.
   “It’s nice to be able to serve a bunch of different communities within a small geographic range and that’s what’s cool about the West Side. There are just so many different communities that all happen within a block of each other. Being right in the middle of it is really interesting,” Ewing said. 
  The BreadHive Cooperative Bakery has a unique business model, in that all of the workers own the business.
   BreadHive Cooperative Bakery has something  for every nationality.
   “People come looking for something closer to what they grew up with,” Kuper said. 
    The bakery has a wholesale line but the owners consider their shop a neighborhood bakery.
    “It’s a community that I like providing bread to because it’s people who are down to earth and they know the value of good food,” Ewing said. 
    “There are big changes coming that we are really excited to announce in April,” Kuper said. By Ryan Esguerra, Amber Rinard and Dallas Taylor

Local brewery hoping to make more beer

Community Beer Works is a West Side nanobrewery with large ambitions.
Owners are looking to implement a new barrel system that would turn their small-time operation into something much bigger. The goal is to turn their one and a half barrel system at Community Beer Works, 15 Lafayette Ave., into a 15-barrel system, Head Brewer Rudy Watkins said.    
While attending the annual Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America in Portland, Ore. this April, Watkins and other Community Beer Works owners hope to buy the new system that will help their dream of expansion come true.
Held by the national Brewers Association, the conference runs from April 14-17. Informational sessions on brewing, business, new breweries and the exporting of beer to other countries will take place at the conference.
            “There’s a huge trade show, so everybody who makes brewing equipment in the U.S. and Canada and then a bunch of European vendors come and show off their wares,” Watkins said.
            Watkins said he and fellow owners have a good idea of what kind of system they will shop for and hope to raise enough money to order it by the time the conference comes around.
            As for expanding to other locations around Buffalo, Watkins teased the possibility.
            “That might happen here, that might happen at a different location,” Watkins said, “All kinds of fun things are up in the air with that.” By Ryan Beiter and Jonny Moran

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Programs shelter homeless in harsh winter

This historically cold winter has prompted increased efforts to shelter the homeless on the West Side.
Nonprofit organizations such as Compass House and Friends of Night People  have gone out and found homeless needing a warm place to stay.
The two organizations have formed a coalition to promote Code Blue, a program run by Buffalo City Mission and St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy.
When temperatures are below 15 degrees, representatives from the organizations drive around in designated vehicles and take those who are left on the street to shelters. The program runs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. during nights the organizations consider too cold to be outside.
“We try everything possible to keep the kids and the adults, whoever we see, off the streets,” said Compass House  Executive Director  Lisa Freeman.   
With the extreme weather conditions this winter, Compass House has had a low population in its  shelter, 370 Linwood Ave., since many homeless youth would rather stay at a friend’s house rather than risk going outside.
“Homeless are staying at their heat source, unable to make it through the ice, the cold, the snow; staying at abandoned buildings, fires, wherever that may be,” said Friends of Night People Development Assistant Nicole Gawel.
Friends of Night People is located at 394 Hudson St., and is responsible for various programs that keep homeless fed, clothed and housed during the winter. The organization serves around 600 people per month. By Ryan Esguerra, Amber Rinard and Dallas Taylor

Rust Belt Books breaking in its new home

Rust Belt Books owner Kristi Meal hangs a spotlight in the performance space in the store’s new location, 415 Grant St., which opened its doors Feb. 28. Meal hopes the space will be used for casual gatherings as well as organized performances. The used bookstore closed its Allen Street location in December. By Ryan Beiter and Jonny Moran

Elmwood shop offers eco-friendly candles

West Side native Christina Fernandez has opened a candle shop on Elmwood Avenue, not far from where she grew up.
Candles by Christina, located at 1006 Elmwood Ave. opened its doors in September. It offers the community all-natural, environment friendly soy candles. 
 “Being that I grew up on Hudson Street, on the lower West side, we didn’t have much back then. To be back here now is a blessing,” Fernandez said. 
Fernandez said she decided her shop would fit perfectly in the Elmwood Village. Since opening, the community has been supportive and welcoming to her, she said.
For five years Fernandez has been testing potential candle ideas. She discovered that soy candles are a healthier alternative to typical candles. Her handmade soy candles are all-natural with no negative impacts on the environment and are made with essential oils.  Fernandez was inspired to create these soy candles while shopping for décor and noticing that the candles for sale were overpriced and bad for the environment.
“Our candles are healthier to have in your home and are very affordable compared to other companies out there,” Fernandez said.
Fernandez has created over 30 different candle scents since the opening. She offers a variety of candle sizes and candle melts.
She said she hopes to open up a second location in the Buffalo area within the next year. By L'Oreal Adams and Kim Kowal

Fabulous Friends serves LGBT community

James Hodur, founder of Fabulous Friends of Western New York, explains the necessity of the LGBT community on the West Side. Founded in 2012, the organization meets weekly on Thursdays from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at St. John’s-Grace Episcopal Church, 51 Colonial Circle.  By Steven Cornelio and Omon Ejemai

Saturday, March 7, 2015

FLY helping refugee kids acclimate to U.S.

Bethany Ortquist, head of the Focused Learning for Youth After School Program, stands with her students during snack time. Ortquist hopes the FLY is making a difference in the community. Ortquist and her associates oversee the program that is sponsored by the Jericho Road Community Health Center. The program is located on 301 14th St. and is available to refugee students around the area. FLY focuses on meeting the needs of middle school refugee children grades six through eight in its attempt to keep pace with the fast moving U.S. educational system. By Ryan Esguerra and Nicholas Malahosky

Urban Roots Garden Center thinking spring

Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager of Urban Roots Community Garden Center, 428 Rhode Island St., says that even indoor plants need extra care during winter, which she says may be over sooner than we think. By Jonny Moran and Ryan Beiter

IN DEPTH: Grant St. bustling again, a shop at a time

One the two-mile stretch of Grant Street, three small stores are starting to revive the area into what it used to be: A neighborhood. Full story by Amber Rinard and Dallas Taylor

Friday, March 6, 2015

La Nova hosts annual St. Joseph’s Table

          La Nova Pizzeria, 371 W. Ferry St., is having its annual St. Joseph’s Day celebration, a tradition that has been practiced for 30 years.  
          The celebration runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on  March 19, runs from 11a.m. -2 p.m. The table features foods such as spaghetti with a sardine sauce, baked fish and cream puffs for desesrt.
 Gina Bilaura, of La Nova, says the tradition is a favorite for the restaurant.
 “This tradition is all about giving back to the community,” Bilaura said.
 La Nova recreates the spirit of a time-honored tradition by making this event free to the public. However, diners are encourages to donate to Sisters of Charity Hospital, the designated charity this year.
St. Joseph’s Day is an Italian holiday where a table is set to display a large buffet of food. Historically, St. Joseph’s Day evolved from Italian villagers praying to St. Joseph to end a long famine. In celebration the wealthy would put out large buffets and invite the less fortunate to join in the festivities. By Jessica Miranda and Ashley Stobnicki

Bazaar begins series of ethnic dinners

Zelalem Gemmeda, owner of Abyssinia Ethiopian Cuisine, makes Ethiopian coffee at Ashker’s Juice Bar and Café on 1002 Elmwood Ave. Ashker’s and the West Side Bazaar have teamed up to hold monthly themed, ethnic dinners. The first dinner was held on March 1. Gemmeda cooked a variety of dishes such as injera, a type of Ethiopian sourdough bread, along with other vegan friendly dishes. Each dinner costs $15  and is open to the public. “People from Elmwood have never heard of the West Side Bazaar because it’s on Grant Street, and that’s why I wanted to bring the communities together and start this event,” said Michelle Holler, manager of the West Side Bazaar. The date of the next dinner is still to be announced. By L'Oreal Adams and Kim Kowal