By Amanda Kilmer:
There is no need for a treasure map to find a gem hidden away in the Larkin District. Riding down Exchange Street, it starts to feel like time is in reverse–crumbled brick buildings, abandoned trains in stations, and massive industrial-sized buildings. It almost looks like a city left behind and you begin to wonder if the rapture happened just a few days late.
But then you hear the sounds of steel being cut and you realize there are others around. Breathe.
Don’t let this neighborhood fool you, though. It is getting a makeover, going through some changes and improvements, heading into a renovation revolution… whichever way you want to look at it. Developers and businesses are seeing this part of the city as an up-and-coming area and are investing into it; loft apartments are being built to attract others into the district. Our industrial-aged buildings are being converted so the old can merge in with the new.
It really is all about location, isn’t it? And this scene couldn’t be any more perfect for a warehouse full of Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and National Guard supplies and gear. That’s where Uncle Sam’s Army and Navy Outfitters steps in. At 290 Larkin Street, there are seven floors of foreign and domestic–not to mention completely authentic–gear that can be found within the warehouse walls. In one corner: a plethora of boots; in another: dress uniforms and shoes; in the other: camping and bedding gear; in yet another: German officer’s jackets from World War II. ‘We don’t have it’ is not a phrase uttered frequently here. No wonder they are America’s largest Army Navy outlet…
For the past twelve years, Uncle Sam’s has been providing the most historically accurate costumes for the Red Cross’ annual fundraiser here in Buffalo, The Bash (formerly MASH Bash), which is a military-themed event. The staff at Uncle Sam’s has many years of experience, with some of them having served our country themselves; they are experts on time periods and can tell you which pantaloons go with what jackets. When creating an outfit for either one person or a group, they take their time making sure it’s as precise as the history books allow them to be and make sure it’s what you feel comfortable in. Come in with ideas or not–they have plenty of their own to help you find what you’re looking for.
The warehouse on Larkin Street is open Monday – Saturday 9am-6pm and Uncle Sam’s also has a satellite store located in the Walden Galleria Mall [10am-9pm]. Both locations will be open for Memorial Day on Monday and throughout the week for you to stop in and pick up a costume for The Bash.