The West Side Bazaar has done its job again. As a business incubator, The Bazaar offers fledgling entrepreneurs the opportunity to get up and running, without incurring the expense typically associated with stand-alone storefronts. While many businesses in The Bazaar are content to operate in a shared environment for an extended period of time, occasionally an entrepreneur will move to a physical location – once the owner has a good grasp of the operational aspects of the business . , in particular by maintaining a solid customer base.
That’s exactly what happened with Radah Baked Goods (Summer 2021) – owners Lavenia and Lee Thomas have chosen to expand into a storefront at 247 Amherst Street, which was once a bike shop.
It was Lavenia who started her baking career at home, after Lee (who has a master’s degree from Buffalo State in administration and student affairs) suggested she change careers.
“Generally, I use my education to help students achieve their goals in life,” Lee said. [chuckling]. “We were together at the time, so I applied what I learned to help her get back to college. She had an artistic background and was good at science, which are transferable skills in She attended Culinary Arts at SUNY Erie, and now she’s teaching me!
What originally started in their kitchen at home eventually gained momentum at the bazaar. But it wouldn’t be long before they outgrew the 10’x10′ space, even with their home kitchen in full production mode.
“WEDI (Westminster Economic Development Initiative) has proven to be a great mentorship program,” Lee said. “The organization also allowed us to network, which is how we found the 900 square foot space at Black Rock. It was a bit rough, but the owner sanded and stained the old floors, and I I’m going there right now to paint. We put in a lot of hours. We’re adopting Black Rock – we wanted to be in a community, with a school nearby.
I asked Lee why they weren’t planning on going with The Bazaar, which yesterday held a ribbon cutting for its new Niagara Street resort. He told me that the definition of Radah (Hebrew) is to have dominion, to rule, to dominate. They wanted to be a community bakery with their own flexibility, their own hours, and the ability to do what they wanted, when they wanted… Rada!
Lee also mentioned that they were the only American concept at the bazaar and people were looking for hard to find and unusual foreign foods. While at the Bazaar, they made sure to stand out – that their booth was an experiment, in the same vein as the rest of the companies in the incubator. They will take this same approach with them, as they venture into their new space. There will be plenty of fun surprises.
In addition to selling brownies, cupcakes, cookies, cakes, and more, Radah Baked Goods will be serving up a hard-to-find crowd favorite outside of amusement parks – Dippin’ Dots. They think the ice cream treat will be a big hit with families. They will also continue to focus on catering for weddings, birthdays and corporate events.
Although there is no seating area at the Black Rock location, there are plenty of treats that can be purchased and eaten on the way back. After all, a cupcake is best eaten right out of the case!
Finally, Lee told me that they would continue to support the nonprofit community they care about.
“We like to give back in any way we can,” Lee said. “We are excited to be up and running, so we can continue to serve the community. It’s important to both of us.
Radah Baked Goods will open in Black Rock this fall.
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