BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW)—Braymiller Markets said the funds could be used to replace lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The only grocery store in downtown Buffalo is now responding to criticism that the city is using public funds to help make ends meet for private companies.
Related article: Blaymirror Market Seeks Funding, $500K Grant Available
The city of Buffalo is seeking approval from the Buffalo City Council to grant a $500,000 federal grant to Bray Miller Market on Ellicott Street. The market had only opened a year and a half ago during the pandemic.
In a statement to 7 News on Wednesday, the market said:
Brey Miller Markets has identified a critical Pandemic Recovery Fund that provides a much-needed financial bridge during what has been a very turbulent economic period for our business in downtown Buffalo, and is providing funding to that fund. We are deeply appreciative of the City of Buffalo’s continued efforts to gain access.
Since opening nearly two years ago, our Downtown Market and Deli has been dedicated to providing the Central Business District, Waterfront and adjacent underserved East Buffalo neighborhoods with the freshest food and produce from across the country. We have navigated many uncertainties while focusing on region.
With 40 to 60 seasonal employees, Downtown Market and Deli has successfully built a diverse workforce that truly reflects the makeup of the area. Our business has also expanded our wholesale offerings, supporting more than 100 restaurants, food preparation facilities and foodservice providers in western New York, making Braymiller Markets an important part of the local food delivery ecosystem.
We greatly appreciate the support of Evans Bank for providing us with the financial flexibility to ensure the sustainability and future success of our downtown location. The Bank will continue to be an active and cooperative partner.
Brendan Mehaffey, executive director of the City of Buffalo’s Strategic Planning Agency, said timing was a challenge from the start.
“Because of the timing of the opening, we were unable to access a lot of the COVID-19 funding that was already open and out for other existing businesses,” Mehafi said.
I also have a question about paying taxes on time. A search of Erie County tax records by the 7 News I-Team found that the company had more than $3,000 in tax delinquencies as of March 18 and was charged late fees.
Both the market owner and a city spokesperson said all taxes had been paid and they believed this was a processing issue.
The city also issued a statement regarding the need for financial assistance for Mr. Braymiller.
Hundreds of millions of dollars were available to many small businesses from various public funds related to coronavirus recovery. Bray Miller opened in September 2021 as it began to recover from the pandemic, but was not eligible to use any of these resources, including PPP. Bray Miller provides essential resources to the surrounding community, including those living in affordable units directly adjacent to the market, and provides employment opportunities for many Buffalo residents.
Lisa Hicks, City of Buffalo – OSP Development Director