When I found out about the Westside Bazaar in Buffalo NY, which is an immigrant and refugee business incubator, I knew I had to go there and chat with their entrepreneurs. Manager Bob Doyle set me up to chat with three of the ladies working there: Aye, Gysma and Nadeen.
It’s a lively spot, so you’ll hear some background noise from all the folks traipsing in to eat lunch. You’ll also hear from Aye, Geesma and Nadeen about what they sell, their favorite food growing up in their home countries, and how they’ve adapted themselves to the Buffalo winter on “How Bazaar”, Episode 47 of the Something About Food? Podcast.
Aye Min Thant is halfway through an Americorps term as WEDI's Community Development Assistant. She coordinates WEDI's volunteer business mentor program while assisting in the general operations of the Bazaar. Originally from Myanmar, Aye moved to Buffalo for school and is currently enrolled at Buffalo State College, with a focus on art and sculpture.
Gysma Kueny is originally from South Sudan and has been living in Buffalo for 14 years. Her shop, Gysma's African Style, sells everything from Ghana-made Shea butter and black soapto necklaces made out of paper that her friend makes in South Sudan. She sells unique and colorful earrings and rings made out of everything from cow horns to metal and wood. Gysma recently had the opportunity to go back to her country, and while she was there she purchased necklaces to sell at her shop.
Bob Doyle is a lifelong Buffalonian and the manager of West Side Bazaar. Prior to working in the Bazaar, Bob worked in a number of local restaurants and ran programming for a local post-resettlement agency. He holds a B.A. in History and an EdM from the University at Buffalo.
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Tea Leaf Salad, Black Bean Bao and Chai. A little something from only a few of the vendors at the West Side Bazaar. Their motto is “bringing the world to Buffalo”, and I can attest to that!