Buffalo: a mid-sized city with a small town feel. This isn’t exactly breaking news in a place where you can’t grab dinner on a Friday without running into at least one person you know. And while it may not always be at the top of your mind, your impact as a consumer goes further than you think.
Making a point to female business-owners is just one of the many ways that all of us, any gender [read: not just women], can support women this International Women’s Day.
Frequenting woman-owned local businesses makes Western New York the kind of place where women thrive, a region that women want to invest in because their dreams and business goals are supported by the community. Whether it’s a simple cup of coffee, or a unique gift for an irreplaceable woman in your life, here are 11 local businesses led by strong, dedicated women.
To discover more women-owned businesses in Western New York, follow @shesfrombuffalo on Instagram. This list is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the awesome women-owned businesses worth celebrating in WNY!
1. For a cup of coffee, JAM Parkside.
Partners: Amber Small and Monica Cichon
301 Parkside Avenue, Buffalo / Website
The charms of this quaint shop go beyond its street corner location and Tipico beans (Jesse Krouse is the third partner). JAM’s laid-back vibe makes it the perfect place for a roadie to take around Delaware Park, a cozy nook to catch up on email, or a pick-me-up before hopping on the 198 in the morning. Read more about JAM here: New: JAM is Parkside’s Adorable New Cafe with Really Good Coffee.
2. To check off your grocery list, Niagara Produce.
President: Jody Chesko
8555 Transit Road, East Amherst OR 112 Chestnut Street, Lockport / Website
One of Niagara County’s best-kept secrets is a wonderland for those who think of grocery shopping as something more than a chore – or maybe if you just enjoy a good bargain. What are the big ticket items for its regular crowd? Quality deli meats, the “beer cave”, local produce, a 99-cent spice rack… oh, and an entire greenhouse overflowing with greenery.
3. For date night, Rin Thai Bistro.
Owner: Rin Suphankomut
988 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo / Website
Owner Rin Suphankomut is determined to loosen Buffalo’s collar when it comes to Asian cuisine: allegedly, we are a decidedly-pad-thai town. No worries, the Elmwood bistro still features the traditional dish on its menu (and it’s worth writing home about), but Rin would really prefer you bring your sense of adventure, and maybe try something on the menu that you struggle to pronounce on the first try.
4. To shop ‘til you drop, The Rose Hanger Shop.
Owner: Sara Morreale
480 Center Street, Lewiston / Website
Browsing through The Rose Hanger Shop feels like a high-end boutique experience that we don’t get a lot of in WNY. Sara carefully selects standout pieces from designers around the world to include in her selection, and is a faithful presence at the brick-and-mortar. She’s more than happy to give a second opinion, or bring you another size.
5. For your social media cleanse, Rust Belt Books.
Owner: Kristi Meal
415 Grant Street, Buffalo / Website
This West Side establishment ticks all the boxes for what you’d ask for in a local bookstore. Organized chaos? Check. Lesser-known selections from prominent authors? Check. Shop cat? Check.
6. To curb your cravings, Mundy Cakes.
Owner: Amanda Bernardini
220 Allen Street, Buffalo / Website
From the desk of someone with an unapologetically ginormous sweet tooth, Bernadini’s sugar cookies hit home every time. Mundy Cakes is an ideal stone’s throw away for downtown residents in need of a sugar rush. But also, a convenient location to pick up cupcakes and pastry for any after-work festivities. Pro-tip: the shop offers eccentric baking classes for when Mom hits you with “don’t buy me anything for my birthday this year.”
7. For vegan options, The Vegan Grocery Store.
Owners: Gabbie Richards and Judith Mittiga
321 Oliver Street, North Tonawanda / Website
Perhaps one of the last places in WNY you’d expect to find a mecca of exclusively vegan munchies is exactly where you’ll find this hidden gem. Judge it not by size, but by the stock of unique treats that vegans and non-vegans alike will enjoy.
8. To sweat it out, Bike or Bar.
Owners: Alexandra Wells and Brit Leo
904 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo / Website
There’s something in the water over at this Elmwood fitness destination, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it building that’s known for giving off the energy of a club while you work out. Hence the name, Bike or Bar is primarily known for its energetic spin classes, with a consistent class schedule that’s sure to have a few options to fit your daily routine. If spinning’s not your cup of tea, be careful not to write Bike or Bar off – their catalog includes TRX, barre, circuit-based, and twerk classes as well.
9. To keep your New Year’s Resolution, Kornerstone Café and Juice Bar.
Owner: Jamie Dinero
33 Elm Street, East Aurora AND 701 Seneca Street, Larkinville / Website
After spending a few years being jealous of East Aurora residents for their quick access to Kornerstone, the owners blessed us in 2018 with a second location in Larkinville. Both locations are great multipurpose spots for meeting up – a date, catching up with friends, post-exercise recovery meal. An extensive menu and an array of ways to personalize your plate make Kornerstone a perfect pick for those with food restrictions or for a nourishing meal that you actually enjoy.
10. For adult beverages, New York Beer Project.
Co-owner: Kelly Krupski
6933 S Transit Road, Lockport / Website
A high-ceilinged atmosphere with all the bustle of a German beer hall somehow retains the comfort factor found at your favorite townie bar. Sit for traditional dinner (don’t sleep on their burgers), or slide up to the bar and get adventurous with your flight (Jelly Donut szn is the best szn). In warmer weather, cozy up around the outdoor fire pit, and in any climate, call dibs on the next game of corn hole. Read more about NYBP here: Now Open: New York Beer Project Brings Brewery & Gastropub Experience to Lockport.
11. To make weekend plans, Step Out Buffalo.
Co-founder & Director of Storytelling: Emily Kluckhohn
Creative Marketing Director: Lauren Spoth
It’s time to give credit where credit is due. For the many local businesses that have contributed to WNY’s ongoing renaissance in recent years, Step Out Buffalo has created a soapbox for them to stand on. SOB has become both a solution and a staple to Buffalo culture – smart enough to know that we needed them before we did. How did we ever make plans before they gave us Things to Do This Weekend? Did we comprehend our need for a platform that ranks the best local cinnamon rolls, reminds us about upcoming bar crawls, and yields an unending stock of hilarious local memes… all in one place? Thanks, guys.
@shesfrombuffalo is an Instagram account that seeks to highlight women-owned and –operated businesses in the Western New York region. It was created to be a tool that both locals and visitors can use to support women in downtown Buffalo and its surrounding areas. Patronizing these business entities is an important act in celebrating everything International Women’s Day stands for, both on the holiday itself and the rest of the calendar year.