ESD Announces Completion of Improvements at Historic Buffalo Candy Business

Quarter million dollar Buffalo Billion project restores Parkside Candy Shoppe, drawing more people to the iconic attraction

September 26, 2017

Empire State Development today announced the completion of $250,000 in improvements to revitalize key features of the nearly 100 year old Parkside Candy Shoppe in Buffalo, enhancing the overall visitor experience. Part of Governor Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative announced in 2015, the project was made possible by a $125,000 Better Buffalo Fund grant awarded to the University District Community Development Association (UDCDA) by Empire State Development and New York State Homes and Community Renewal. The grant allowed the UDCDA to assist with an extensive restoration of both the interior and exterior of the historic landmark. Recently listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Parkside Candy is another example of the important role state and federal historic tax credits play in revitalizing Buffalo’s neighborhoods.

“As part of the Buffalo Billion, the Better Buffalo Fund is breathing new life into neighborhoods that are the foundation of the new Buffalo and the Western New York economic renaissance,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who attended today’s ceremony. “Parkside Candy has been a fixture in this region for nearly a century, and through our partnership we have preserved one of the pillars of the University Heights neighborhood for generations to come.”

Howard Zemsky, Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner said, “The restoration of this historic candy business creates a new chapter of economic success, and modernizes a company that has been a Western New York favorite for close to a hundred years." 

RuthAnne Visnauskas, Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal said, “Congratulations to Parkside Candy Shoppe and the entire City of Buffalo on the extraordinary restoration of this iconic local treasure. HCR partnered with Empire State Development to secure a $125,000 Better Buffalo Fund grant for this project, and we are pleased to see the amazing results as one of the oldest and most prized small businesses in the city is brought back to life for residents and visitors to enjoy.”

Daniel Mackay, Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation at the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said, “The Parkside Candy Shoppe is a particularly exciting addition to the growing number of buildings that have taken advantage of the NYS and federal historic tax credits. The rehabilitation of the Shoppe on Main Street demonstrates that the program continues to serve as vital economic development tool for projects both big and small.  We want to extend our congratulations to the project team and thank them for revitalizing this cherished Buffalo landmark.” 

Work on the iconic building started in January of this year thanks to a project team consisting of Sutton Architecture, SLR Contracting, and Preservation Studios. Work included painting and plaster restoration, new checkerboard flooring, restored wooden display cases, and new lighting in the retail space. Two upstairs apartments have been completely remodeled, with updated bathrooms and kitchens, further adding to the number of high quality units available along the Main Street transit corridor. The apartments have also retained much of the charm that comes with a nearly 100 year old building with original hardwood floors, trim, and fixtures throughout.

The most noticeable work to neighborhood residents and business patrons alike, however, has been the extensive exterior restoration. This included cleaning, repairing, and repointing the building’s brick and masonry, installation of new retractable awnings, and the replacement of the business’s signature neon with a brand new replica sign fabricated locally by All American Sign WNY. The installation of an eight foot wayfinding sign outside the store that details the history of Parkside Candy, the University Heights, and provides pedestrians with a neighborhood walking map was also included as part of the project.

As one of the oldest continuously operating small businesses in the neighborhood, the building dates back to 1927 and was designed by local architect G. Morton Wolfe. Originally owned by the Kaiser family, the retail store and adjacent factory building were built as the business outgrew its original space in the Parkside neighborhood. The business was purchased by the current owner, Philip Buffamonte, in 1981. Mr. Buffamonte has committed to returning the building to its original grandeur, and sees a fully restored Parkside Candy not only as a catalyst for boosting business, but also strengthening Main Street as the vibrant and walkable heart of the neighborhood.

Owner of Parkside Candy, Phil Buffamonte said, “Parkside Candy is proud to be restored to its original grandeur. Our revitalized candy shop is receiving rave reviews from long time patrons and the new customers attracted by the beautiful new interior and exterior renovations. We offer our appreciation to Governor Cuomo and the Better Buffalo Fund for helping revitalized a national historic landmark that is a treasure to the community and a growing culinary tourism attraction."

Parkside Candy is a point of pride in the area with its rich culinary history. With the revitalization of the business, there is hope that the number of customers will significantly increase. Parkside Candy currently employs approximately 36 people who work as candy makers, customer service agents, waitresses, mechanics and shipping employees.

Roseann Scibilia, Executive Director of the UDCDA said, "Parkside Candy tells a story of our collective history as a neighborhood, a city, and a region, a story that for many decades has gone untold. Thanks to this major restoration, Parkside Candy is helping to write a new chapter in our collective history, and with it, encourage a new generation of entrepreneurs and community advocates to locate and invest in our community."

Sutton Architecture worked with the UDCDA to restore Parkside Candy to its original grand style.

Senator Tim Kennedy said, "With the help of the UDCDA and the Buffalo Billion, Parkside Candy has been restored to its full glory," said Senator Tim Kennedy. "This historic landmark is a key location on Main Street, and I'm thrilled that future generations will continue to be able to enjoy a treat at Parkside Candy. Congratulations to the Buffamonte family, and thank you to the UDCDA and Governor Cuomo for their leadership."

Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes said, “Congratulations to Parkside Candy, one of the longest continuously serving businesses in the neighborhood and probably the City of Buffalo. The restoration to its original grandeur allows this icon to continue to be a local attraction and the opportunity to step back in time to a bygone era, even if only for brief moments. Congratulations are also in order for UDCDA for their dedication to the project and to the construction and development team for their attention to detail. I would like to thank Governor Cuomo, HCR, ESD and State Parks (SHPO) for making these funds and this project possible.”

Mayor Byron W. Brown said, “Once again, the Better Buffalo Fund, which is part of the Governor’s Buffalo Billion, has aided a veteran Buffalo business in returning to its original glory. The $125,000 in state funds leveraged a $250,000 project, which not only benefited the iconic Parkside Candy Shoppe, but also this anchor block of Main Street, in Buffalo’s University District. This is just one of more than a dozen sites, located along key transit corridors across the City of Buffalo, which are benefitting from this great program.”

County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “A trip to Parkside Candy is sure to create great memories along with providing wonderful candy, and I thank Governor Cuomo for his attention to this Buffalo landmark. It’s a touchstone for the community and a historical treasure that now looks better than it ever has.”

University District Council Member Rasheed Wyatt said, “We are excited about the historic legacy of Parkside Candy.  The restoration represents the continual developmental growth to the Main Street business corridor and overall community,”

For more information about Parkside Candy visit:

Pamm Lent | [email protected] | (716)-846-8309