Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — NORTH TONAWANDA — Budwey’s Supermarket announced in October that it would sell its three locations to an outside company by the end of 2013, to the chagrin of many who had lifelong ties to the store’s history and enjoyed the benefit of a locally owned establishment.
In a reversal Thursday, Frank Budwey, whose family began the local icon 92 years ago, said after selling its Kenmore Avenue location late last year to Dash’s Market, two other stores in North Tonawanda and Newfane will now remain under his control.
Budwey, 64, said he changed his mind about the sale due to his family’s longtime connection to the business and denied that a lack of interest from Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative, a Western New York company, was a reason for the change of heart earlier this week.
“Olean Wholesale was talking to me about it,” he said. “I decided I didn’t want to do that. It was my choice. I had a good offer on the table and I turned it down. We’re back and we’re not leaving.”
A reporter's calls for comment to Olean Wholesale were not returned Thursday.
Whatever the motivation for Budwey retaining ownership of the two stores, he said he now plans on holding on to them for the remainder of his life.
“Initially I was thinking it was time for me to retire,” he said. “But I planned on staying in Buffalo; it’s not like I was moving to Florida. I thought that since I’m going to stay local I might as well keep the stores in the community I love and where I was born and raised ... .”
The North Tonawanda supermarket was opened in 1922 on Oliver Street and was passed down through the family until Frank Budwey took it over from his parents in 1971, after returning home from the Vietnam War. He sold the business in 1995 to Jubilee Foods and bought it back in 2000.