NORTH TONAWANDA — The Old Chapel Antique and Artisan Market has become a haven for collectors and those with a flair for the handmade, but now the market’s owners are giving the public a new reason to stop by.
On Thursday, Jacob and Jennifer Wankasky opened a new business within their business, the Orange Brick Cafe, which can be found toward the back of the market, located in the old Ascension Church on Robinson and Vandervoort streets in North Tonawanda. The cafe has a coffees, espressos, smoothies, desserts and more.
“Since we opened, it was always the plan to do it,” Jacob Wankasky said of opening the cafe.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony held on Thursday was attended by public officials, representatives from the Lumber City Development Corporation and several of the vendors who sell their products at the market. Once the ribbon was cut, guests lined up to get a taste of the cafe’s offerings, including coffee provided by the Wheatfield-based New Day Coffee Roasters.
Wankasky said that they’ve been working to get the cafe up and running since they opened the business last year. He said they’ve been able to bring the $30,000 project to fruition with assistance from the LCDC, which provided the Wankaskys with a $15,000 grant.
“We’re really excited with everything done here in the church and with the cafe now,” said Michael Zimmerman, executive director of the LCDC.
In addition to the cafe, the market offers a various antiques, collectables, and handmade gifts and food items, which recently came to include a variety of Amish goods, which Wankasky said were a huge hit when the business was located in Pendleton. They also provide space for local artists to showcase and sell their work.
The market has also partnered with The Cheesecake Factory, which will provide a revolving selection of cheesecakes.
Second Ward Alderwoman Donna Braun, who was on hand at Thursday’s ribbon cutting ceremony, said she’s already a regular at the market and that thinks the addition of a cafe was a good decision.
“It’s a wonderful way to bring our community together right here in this beautiful church,” Braun said. “I’ve been here several times…and it’s wonderful to have in the community.”
Alderman-at-Large Austin Tylec added that he thought it was great to see businesses in the city expanding their operations.
Wankasky said the cafe is just the latest addition to the market and that they’re not done growing. While he declined to share what the market is planning to do next, he did say more new things are coming.
“It’s been overwhelming, the response that we’ve had since we opened,” he said. “And we’re excited to keep growing.”
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