In the past, nobody would have batted an eyelash if a retailer or restaurateur was to pick up from Elmwood and move to Hertel. It has happened quite a few times actually. What might make people look twice is a move that one store is taking that will reposition it from Elmwood (in Allentown) to Grant Street. Krudmart closed its doors back in September to concentrate on its strong online business. Fortunately the store’s Allentown location was quickly snapped up by another cool shop – Positive Approach.
It didn’t take long for one of Krudmart’s loyal followers, Lance Kutrybala, to approach the owner with an interest in purchasing the business and a hankering to open up another brick and mortar location. When the news reached Erin Habes, former owner of Sweet & Dirty and close ally to Krudmart, she jumped onboard as the shop’s Woman’s Brand Manager. So the store had a new owner, a new manager, and a strong online presence with no storefront (since the old one was now Positive Approach). “I’m a huge supporter of Elmwood Avenue,” Erin told me. “We looked at a number of locations in the mix of things with lots of foot traffic. In Allentown we had been a destination store. We were looking at more walking traffic areas. During that time I went to a show at the Grant Street Gallery (next to Sweet_ness 7 Café) – that was a year ago. I felt that there was nothing like it in Buffalo – the vibe – the brick walls and tin ceilings… the gallery was gorgeous.
“Eventually we learned that there was an additional space in the building (next to Mum’s and Daisy’s Flower Shop). We took a look and what I can say is that you really need a vision to see the potential in certain places. We knew that it wouldn’t be an easy fix, but I fell in love with it. I’ve worked on fixing up these types of spaces in the past. Prish (owner of the building) is a true visionary and we see this as a cool creative team coming together. It’s that same feeling when you go the Lower East Side in NYC with the cool vibe and a lot of ethnic groups that contribute to the culture. We’re still going to stay true to the Krudmart brands and aesthetic. Plus we’re bringing in some new brands that people haven’t seen before. I’m excited to get a fresh new look for some women’s products – that’s my strength. Embracing the original elements of the store while adding some gallery-like aspects with neon tube lighting.
“We need to be creative – we’re looking at super high-end street fashion stores from around the world while keeping the build-out within budget. In Buffalo you can find an amazing chandelier for $200. In NYC that same chandelier would be $800 to $1000. We’re spending all of our money locally (much of it on reuse) while looking elsewhere for ideas. We’re planning on opening around the 1st week of March. We closed Krudmart in September – the logistics have been crazy because we’re trying to pull the whole store together after closing not that long ago.”
212 Grant Street