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Mid-Century Maneuver @ CooCoo U

Mid-century modern furniture and accessory lovers can now rejoice. Owner of CooCooU, Michael Merisola, has located a building on Chandler Street in North Buffalo, directly next to Horsefeathers, with the intention of featuring a massive collection of retro finds on the building’s sprawling second floor. If that wasn’t enough, Michael has also created an breathtaking showroom for select pieces on the first floor, rivaling serious mid-century showrooms in Toronto and New York. Michael’s intention for the future is to maintain the Chandler Street warehouse and showroom as his primary commercial headquarters that will be open to the public with regular retail hours.

This week Michael opened the doors of the building to give the public a glimpse of what will soon be the culmination of his dreams (if anyone dreams about mid-century modern, it’s this guy). To draw attention the project, Michael hosted a warehouse sale this week (run by Stock Exchange – sale ended today), drawing mid-century lovers from across the region to check out his new location. Being situated next to Horsefeathers certainly added to the dynamic draw of the street (see why). This sleepy neighborhood has limitless potential that is finally being realized (more good news to come shortly).
It won’t be long before CooCooU on Chandler opens its doors for good – if you missed the sale and you live in Buffalo, don’t worry… there’s still a ton of great stuff to be found when the place opens for good. Michael told me that he hasn’t even begun to sort out the design pieces on the third floor of the warehouse, but over time he will be bringing that collection downstairs to sell on the show floors.
As for CooCoo U’s longstanding location on Hertel, I’ve heard rumors that a deal might be in the works for a retro-style antique shop take over the storefront, which would help to keep the street’s mid-century shopping image intact. It was Michael Merisola who first brought the scene to Hertel after moving from a storefront in Allentown 25 years ago. It turned out that Michael was an early pioneer on Hertel, and his efforts have paid off for North Buffalo for years. Now it looks like he’s set his sights on an even more ambitious project.
Town Ballroom’s music promoter Artie Kwitchoff told me a funny story about CooCoo U earlier today while I was at the Chandler Street location. He said that over the years, every time that Mike Ness, singer, guitarist and songwriter for Social Distortion, plans to come to Buffalo he ends up bringing an empty trailer with him and stays an extra day just so that he can shop at CooCoo U (and select other places around the city). Apparently Buffalo is one of his favorite places to shop, and it’s businesses like CooCoo U that blow his mind. That’s pretty cool… just wait until Mike Ness discovers CooCoo U’s new digs – he’s going to have to bring a second empty trailer and stay for a third day when he sees what has transpired!
CooCoo U Warehouse, Showroom and Mid-Century Modern Gallery
27 Chandler Street,
Buffalo, NY 14207

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette, and the Madd Tiki Winter Luau. Other projects: Navigetter.

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  • LouisTully

    I saw the advertisement and went to their fb page but it was all very vague and… sketchy? There weren’t any details alluding that it was anything other than some random warehouse/flea sale, let alone an actual business or a connection to coocoo. The Chandler address made me think of Horsefeathers and ridiculously priced crap so that didn’t help.
    Seeing this article prior to the sale would’ve been nice.

  • thisoldcrackhouse

    It’s interesting that Buffalo has such an ample supply of this type of decor. Buffalonians embraced mid-century modern art as well. I wonder how much influence the collection of the Albright-Knox had on the decor choices people made back then.

  • Rand503

    And I wonder to what extent the popularity of Mad Men has on the sale of such items?

  • Rand503

    Wouldn’t it be cool to have a historical house selected that would be appropriate to furnish with all the mid-century furnishings? Surely there is something around the Delaware district that would suffice. It could be a great museum for the promotion and understanding of mid-century American design.

  • defender110

    I have known Micheal for a few years now and I must say coming from Toronto it’s a pleasure to deal with someone whose selection and knowledge of Art Deco/ mid century is so vast ; his prices are reasonable and it’s almost an outing spending time at his Chandler location and having him explain the significance and providence of every piece. Micheal is really a professional in the antique community and not just one of this pop up knowledge less stores selling crap which unfortnueatly proliferates in Toronto.

  • norwalk

    So is he closing the Hertel ave location? Too bad if h does..

  • Pegger

    I went to place in Calif. last spring where there is an abundance (if not a glut) of mid century homes. In fact, I was there for something like Mid Century Week promoted and celebrated by that city. We spent the better part of a day touring neighborhoods, open houses, shopping malls, and hotels all on that theme. It was like stepping into an episode of The Jetsons.
    There was so much redundancy that it was clear that most of the furniture consisted of reproductions. I asked some of the docents about it and she replied that not only were they repros but they were also expensive.
    I can remember my childhood home Buffalo that for a time was decorated in that style that my mother identified as Danish Modern. I thought it was an absurd design for an older home with authentic woodwork floors and trim along with detailed, floral themed wallpaper. So, I also ask where would one go to find suitable homes for this decor in the Buffalo area?

  • grad94

    i love chandler street. great old factories there.
    best of luck to coocoo. i guess those of us with queen annes are not going to be able to find late 19th century anymore. 🙂

  • Black Rock Lifer

    That warehouse building on Chandler St is in Black Rock, not North Buffalo.