In the fall of 2009, a group of concerned West Side agencies, business people, and residents came together to form the Niagara District Stakeholders under the guidance of David Rivera, Councilman for the district. One of the group's goals was to have a dramatic impact on the business atmosphere of the West Side. After many months of visioning to determine what the means of achieving that impact would look like, the Westminster Economic Development Initiative, Inc. took the project on and the West Side Bazaar concept was born. The Bazaar was to be a small business incubator where new business owners could find a safe, nurturing, and inexpensive environment to develop their business with guidance in the ways of running an enterprise successfully.
During this time, refugees and immigrants flocked to the West Side of Buffalo with hopes of continuing old world customs in their new and unfamiliar environment. While they wanted to enter the mainstream of city life, they also sought to preserve their traditions and heritage and to make a living. The West Side Bazaar offered these New Americans the chance to get a firm footing in the business world in their new home by serving these needs and helping to guide and develop them as they began to grow their businesses.
Following many months of preparation, workshops, and site analyses, the Bazaar opened on March 3, 2011 at 242 Grant Street near Lafayette Avenue and housed six newly minted business owners from Rwanda, South Sudan, Peru, Indonesia, and the USA. The Bazaar quickly became a community shopping and food location — a place ideal for combining business with socializing and for sharing with one another the latest in gossip and news from the old world. Since then three entrepreneurs have successfully grown their businesses out of the Bazaar and into their own storefronts.
In 2012 the Bazaar won the 21st Century Grant of the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo and moved to an expanded storefront in the heart of the Grant and Ferry Marketplace, Buffalo's second largest business section. 25 Grant Street has become a destination where enterprising shoppers can find exotic handcrafted gifts, clothing, and jewelry from all over the world and fresh exciting ethnic foods.