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Samantha Christmann

Samantha Christmann covers retail for The Buffalo News and writes the Discount Diva column.


Business

In the age of porch pirates, letting someone know you received their gift in the mail is a must. And in an age when no one sends thank-you notes, making someone feel appreciated for their thoughtfulness is magical. Every time I've received a gift in the mail, it has been thrilling. Now as a mom, watching my kids receive packages from far-flung friends and family is e…

Business

It's the end of an era for audiophiles: The Stereo Advantage store on Wehrle Drive in Amherst has closed. "It's simply time to move on," Tony Ragusa, the store's founder, said in a statement. Lifetime service warranties on Stereo Advantage purchases will remain in effect. Employees were offered jobs elsewhere in the Advantage Co., the umbrella over nearly 20 other co…

Business

A sexual harassment lawsuit involving a franchised Anchor Bar location on Maple Road in Amherst will also target the original Anchor Bar location at 1047 Main St. "The franchisor has an obligation to make sure franchisees are following the law, doing the appropriate things," said Kevin Stocker, the attorney representing the women making the harassment claims. Stocker…

Business

The Anchor Bar at 4300 Maple Road, near Sweet Home Road, has a new owner. Maple Road Wings LLC bought the franchised location and its assets for $375,000 after the previous owner fell into bankruptcy and filed to liquidate its holdings, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court documents. It's the same franchise location being sued by former employees for sexual harassment. …

Business

If you use a plastic card to track your loyalty rewards at Tim Hortons, you've probably been urged to convert to the coffee chain's digital app. Tim Hortons began warning customers weeks ago that its Tims Rewards would go all digital Jan. 1. But if you don't have a smartphone, or just prefer to use your rewards card, there's a way around using the app – for now. A…

Business

Protocol restaurant owner Paul Pelczynski's legal troubles are mounting. The state Labor Department alleges he stopped making payments on money he owed for withholding tips from more than 100 workers at the restaurant, and it is seeking a $311,975 judgement against him and Protocol. The latest allegations come months after the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commis…

Business

If you received a gift certificate through Simply Certificates this Christmas, pay close attention to its expiration date. Sold at Walden Galleria, the Boulevard, McKinley and Eastern Hills malls, and at the Wyoming Valley Mall in Pennsylvania, Simply Certificates can be redeemed at dozens of locally owned restaurants, spas and salons in Western New York. But the one…

Local News

Feb. 29, 1972 – Dec. 27, 2019 Christopher Tamutus started every day by making a positive social media post – something that he felt would encourage and inspire his nearly 5,000 friends on Facebook. Around 7:30 a.m. Friday, he urged his friends to seize the day, posting the words "Carpe Diem." That afternoon, he died suddenly in Buffalo General Medical Center due to a…

Business

Do you know what comes after Christmas? The Epiphany. What better time, then, to have a come-to-Jesus moment about your holiday spending? Most of the hustle and bustle is behind you, but the chaos is still fresh in your mind. It's the perfect time to reflect. You can feel that debt hangover, you're staring down those credit card bills and the snippy remarks you ma…

Business

If you're headed to the mall Thursday, don't expect the holiday hustle and bustle to have ended. The day after Christmas is expected to be the third-busiest shopping day of the year, according to surveillance equipment maker Sensormatic. The only busier shopping days were Black Friday, followed by the last Saturday before Christmas known as Super Saturday. Customers …

Business

One of the first signs of Christmas each year is when the Go! Calendars and Games kiosks open in the malls. But at Boulevard Mall this time around, the kiosk has empty stores on either side of it – a former jeweler on one side and a former children's clothing store on the other. The kiosk's local operator, Safia Ali from Amherst, said she and her husband are 30% to 4…

Business

There are a million different ways to do your Christmas shopping. Everyone has their own strategy, their own style, their own plan of attack. There are list makers, chance takers and those who like to fly by the seat of their pants. There are bargain hunters, big-ticket buyers and impulse shoppers galore. And there's something fascinating about how consumers differ f…

Crime

Buffalo police are investigating a shooting that happened in the early morning hours Sunday on the city's East Side. A 25-year-old man reportedly was shot around 3:30 a.m. in the 400 block of Genesee Street, between Michigan and Jefferson avenues. He was driven by a civilian to Erie County Medical Center, where he was treated and released, a police spokesman said. …

Business

Sonic Drive-In franchisee Kevin DiPirro has signed a land lease with Uniland Development Co. to build a restaurant at the northwest corner of Hertel and Elmwood avenues. The roughly 3,500-square-foot store will have an indoor dining area with seating for about 85 people. It will also have drive-up and drive-thru service. It will be on land that was part of the same p…

Business

For you, the holiday shopping season might bring back memories of shopping AM&A's downtown. But for me, everything's coming up Rainbow. There was nothing about the Rainbow Centre in Niagara Falls that wouldn't appeal to a 10-year-old girl in 1989. Even the name sounds like something Punky Brewster would come up with. Summit Park Mall was my home mall, an Aqua Net…