VILLAGE OF LANCASTER, N.Y. (WIVB) – West Main Street is back open in the Village of Lancaster- right in time for holiday shopping.
The road, now two lanes instead of a one-way, reopened to traffic on Wednesday.
West Main Street now extends to Aurora Street, and a new mini roundabout is located at the intersection.
Additionally, the sidewalks are wider and are now ADA-compliant, and there is parallel parking available on the street, rather than diagonal parking.
All of the improvements are part of a $3 million project, most of which was funded through money from the Buffalo Billion II initiative, village mayor Bill Schroeder said.
“I think everyone is going to benefit from this,” Schroeder said.
Ground was broken on the project in June.
The project was years in the making and was implemented with walkability and a better shopping experience in mind.
The improvement on West Main Street isn’t over- developer Tommy Sweeney plans to build mixed-use buildings on the north end of West Main Street, and a ribbon cutting ceremony for the reopened W. Main Street will be held in the spring.
“I think it’s going to be another positive step for the Village of Lancaster,” Schroeder said.
The local businesses on West Main Street are ready to welcome shoppers to the reopened street.
Crystal Newman owns Bloomsbury Lane Toy Shoppe, an independent toy store specializing in unique items “for ages zero to 99”.
“We’re super excited to see some traffic going through, and for the new development happening next year!” Newman said.
Alan Kurtzman owns The New York Store, which has been open for 91 years. The store sells men’s regular and big-and-tall clothing, as well as women’s clothing.
“We’ve been through a lot of things- never a pandemic, that’s a first!” Kurtzman said. “We’re looking forward to the weekend- Small Business Saturday is usually a strong day for us.”
Like other local businesses, the merchants along W. Main Street have gotten creative amid the pandemic, finding alternative ways to get shoppers the products they’re looking for.
Newman said that the store has been doing curbside pickup, as well as virtual events, Facebook lives, and personal Zoom or Facetime calls to give customers personal service without contact.
“They can see what we have in store, we make recommendations,” Newman said. “We make it easy for you to get your holiday shopping done.”
Kurtzman has also been utilizing curbside pickups and Zoom calls.
Brittany Leighbody, owner of 716 Dance Lab, and Jena Abati, owner of Music Academy of WNY, say they have been utilizing smaller class sizes and social distancing to stay safe, as well as holding lessons via Zoom.
The street renovation means larger sidewalks for kids to wait on, Leighbody said.
“There’s two-way street parking, and parking right by the door,” she added.
716 Dance Lab will be hosting some local vendors who are parents of dance students for Small Business Saturday.
On West Main Street, you can also find Dark Forest Chocolate Makers, which owner Dan Sundrell describes as “small batch chocolate”, made in-house, and Lilly Belle Meads, offering a variety of honey-based alcohol for every palette as well as honey products.
Businesses in the village are gearing up for Small Business Saturday.
“In this area, there are 39 local businesses,” Schroeder said. “We have some boutiques, some clothing shops some bakeries- we’re hoping that people come out and support our local businesses because they really need all the help they can get.”
Buying local might be even better for the community than shoppers realize, Kaitlyn Russ, owner of Purely Pets on W. Main St. said.
“Shopping small goes directly to our local community,” Russ said. “We actually work with suppliers that are local distributors- by shopping with us, you’re not just supporting on local family, but other local families.”