The Vegan Center opens, answering the call of Western New York’s growing vegan community

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TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) – As Western New York’s vegan community continues to grow, a new multi-purpose, vegan-centered hub has sprung up in the City of Tonawanda.

The Vegan Center, 60 Broad St., opened its doors for a first event on Oct. 31.

The sizable space used to be Complete Homecare. It includes a resource/reading area, a consignment shop where local vegan and vegan-friendly artisans can sell their goods, an event space, conference rooms, office spaces, and a commercial kitchen for rent.

Owner Marcy Zastrow said she saw the need for a space like The Vegan Center two years ago while organizing quarterly pop-up vegan markets.

“The response was amazing,” said Zastrow, who operates through an LLC called Project Vegan 716, formerly The Vegan Educator. “We’d have 200 plus people coming to all the events- there are a lot of vendors who want to get their product out there, both vegan and vegan-friendly business owners.”

Zastrow said she listened to vendors and the public, especially through the Facebook group WNY Vegans.

“I just listened to what people wished we had in the Buffalo area, and I thought ‘I can do this!'”,” Zastrow said. “I want to work collaboratively with a lot of vegan businesses and help them grow.”

Zastrow said she joined the Facebook group in 2014, when it had around 400 members- it now has over 3,600.

“We’re growing by the day!” she said.

Zastrow’s own office is located in the center- she’s a certified vegan lifestyle coach and educator. There are other office spaces available, as well as conference centers for meetings or one-on-one sessions.

The event center is available to be rented, as is the commercial kitchen, which features all new, all vegan kitchen equipment, a refrigerator and freezer, and kitchen storage space and a packaging area.

Membership to The Vegan Center is available, and members will get benefits including discounted ticket prices to events, a monthly newsletter, borrowing privileges to the resource center, and quarterly free gifts.

The Vegan Center is hosting a rummage sale and basket raffle fundraiser this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to benefit animal rescue and sanctuary Penelope’s Place.

There’s still time to rent a table or donate a basket- click here for more information.

For information on how you can rent space at the Vegan Center, or to keep up with upcoming events, click here.

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