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2011 ‘Buy Local’ Holiday Shopping: Day 23 – O’Connell’s

So rare these days do people go for elegance, class, and sophistication in their personal style. And that’s probably because common clothing stores don’t readily offer fine-made apparel that are both appealing and accessible to consumers. As a result, fine clothiers have become somewhat of a lost art form. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, these boutiques became scant, as more people turned to “throwaway” clothes, that sacrificed quality for affordability. The irony of this notion is you end up spending more money on inexpensive, lesser quality items than spending more upfront for items that will last you 20 years or longer and make you look three times as smashing.
One of these fine clothiers and rare gemstones of Buffalo’s fashion industry is O’Connell Lucas Chelf, which opened in 1959 on Main Street near Heath. The store was owned by then current Buffalo Bills players Thomas O’Connell, Richie Lucas and Don Chelf, and was bought later that same year by Bernie Huber. Over a half century later, Bernie, along with his sons Ethan and John, lay claim to one of Buffalo’s few fine clothing stores that remain in the city of Buffalo, with particular emphasis on men’s fashion.


The store offers
high quality, private label clothing, which means a majority of the items are
designed and carried solely by O’Connell’s. The goods are all made in the U.S.,
Canada, United Kingdom and Ireland, with most brands exclusive to Western New
York. After several successful years of carrying designer menswear, O’Connell’s
expanded their brand to include offerings for boys and women’s wear. What it is
that makes clothing exceptional is not just the design aesthetic, but also the
quality of the tailoring and manufacturing of the garment. At O’Connell’s,
their clothing and accessories are pieces you buy to treat yourself or others
to something that will make them look and feel like a million bucks. Afterall,
that is what fashion is really all about – showcasing yourself in a confident
way. And this boutique will do just that through their offerings of beautiful
and unique clothing and accessories that will last for years to come.

Best Seller:

According to Ethan,
the item that flies off the shelves are the belts. When you look around, there
are gobs of styles to choose from, from traditional to quirky. The biggest
sellers are those belts with a motif, such as the Buffalo landmark belt that highlights
some of our most famous structures including Richardson Towers, City Hall and
the Darwin Martin House. Other popular belts include those that are sports
themed, showcasing American pride, or have a bit of fun in them, such as those
with martini glasses, patchwork, or tartan plaid. There are thousands upon
thousands of belts to choose from–which can be overwhelming if you’re a bit
indecisive, as options run the gamut. Here, you will be sure to find something
that will appeal to the person you are buying for. Belts run between $40-45.

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Unique Gift Idea:

I really appreciate
men who have and embrace their own sense of style. O’Connell’s offers some
really fabulous embroidered pants that, when looking at them from afar seem
rather innocent, but upon closer inspection offer some playful fun. These pants
offer various embroidered detailing, featuring anything from shamrocks to buffaloes
to beer and pretzels. If a man you know has a fun personality with a unique
sense of style, these pants are made for him, as he’ll be set apart from any
crowd. Beautifully made with an unexpected twist, these embroidered pants are
priced between $125-175.

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Bonus – What’s On Trend:

Bow ties aren’t
just for the Alex P. Keaton and Tucker Carlson types anymore. They are the
hottest trend hitting the men’s fashion scene. O’Connell’s carries an enormous
variety of different menswear items, and they are not short on bow ties either.
Whether you’re embracing a new look with a more debonair quality, or trying to
refresh your current collection of bow ties, O’Connell’s will have what you’re
looking for. Prices on these ties range from $45-55.

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O’Connell’s
3240 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14214
(716) 836-4140

What To Do While You’re There:

If you want to
continue experiencing a bit of old-fashioned charm after your stop at
O’Connell’s, take a gander over to Parkside Candy, where you’ll step into a
gorgeous art deco structure complete with ornate architectural moldings,
vintage wooden glass cases, a checkerboard floor and antique tables and chairs.
Upon opening the double glass doors, prepare yourself to enter a pre-World War
II candy shoppe that is ready to serve you handmade chocolates, candies, old
fashioned lollipops, ice cream, and even soups and sandwiches if you’d like a
precursor to your dessert.

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Parkside Candy has
been run by two families throughout it’s 84-year history: the Kaiser family,
who had the vision for this candy shoppe, and the Buffamonte family, who, for
the past 25 years, has enjoyed staying true to this vision by continuing to
offer fine-quality chocolates in an old-fashioned setting. The store opened in
1927, and eventually moved to their current location on Main Street at Winspear
after the then-owners decided to build a factory that would be connected to
their shop. Parkside Candy makes their chocolates and other sweets in that
factory, located behind their storefront, and distributes its products
nationwide.

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You may recall it
was Parkside Candy that had a cameo in the Robert Redford’s 1983 film, “The
Natural,” which was set in the 1930s. The store itself was used as a backdrop
in a few of the film’s scenes, and the director used the staff as extras and
some of their vintage furniture for props.

Aside from its
nostalgic charm and Hollywood debut, Parkside Candy has primarily made a name
for itself with their sponge candy and pecan dixies, which are similar to
turtles.

Whether you want to
send some love from Buffalo to someone in the form of sponge candy or escape to
an old-fashioned time soda and candy shoppes ruled the land, stop into Parkside
Candy. It will be a memorable treat that will have you feeling a part of
history.

Parkside Candy
3208 Main Street 
Buffalo, NY 14214
(716) 833-7540

Bonus Stop:

Music City Buffalo has
just about everything you could need to make any music lover’s heart sing.
Offering a mix of new and used instruments, Music City has a large selection of
guitars, drums and band instruments, as well as accessories. A full-service music
shop, Music City also carries instrument and equipment rentals, provides
repairs, and offers music lessons for vocals and instruments. Owned by Vincent
Mastrantonio, Music City has been serving North Buffalo’s music needs for
nearly 20 years.

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Music City Buffalo
3236 Main
Street
 
Buffalo, NY 14214
(716) 838-4547

Photo credits: Katie
Krawczyk

Gift Suggestion #22 – Chic and Sweet
Gift Suggestion #21 – Animal Outfitters

Gift Suggestion #20 – Moda
Gift Suggestion #19 – West Side Bazaar

Gift Suggestion #18 – Urban Threads & Campus Wheelworks
Gift Suggestion #17 – Blue Sky Design
Gift Suggestion #16 – Destination by Lee
Gift Suggestion #15 – Treehouse

Gift Suggestion #14 – NEO Gift Studio
Gift Suggestion #13 – Wild Things
Gift Suggestion #12 – Peek-A-Boo
Gift Suggestions #11 – Urban Roots
Gift Suggestions #10 – Parker Pharmacy
Gift Suggestions #9 – Burning Books
Gift Suggestions #8 – New Buffalo Graphics
Gift Suggestions #7 – Lotions and Potions
Gift Suggestions #6 – Blue Hill Kitchen and Home

Gift Suggestions #4 – San Bor Sports

Gift Suggestions #3 – reimagine
Gift suggestions #2 – The Buffalo Scooter Shop
Gift Suggestions #1 – Homeward Bound

Written by Katie Krawczyk

Katie Krawczyk is a freelance writer who has contributed to Buffalo Rising since 2009. A Buffalo re-pat, Katie moved back to the city in 2006 after living in Washington, DC, The Netherlands and Indiana. In addition to being a writer, Katie is a business owner, PR specialist, philanthropist, world traveler, and self-proclaimed life enthusiast. She loves her hometown as much as she loves chocolate and peanut butter.

View All Articles by Katie Krawczyk
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