Elmwood Village Fabrics has re-opened on Franklin Street (see why). This unusual move has inspired me to rethink what the future of our neighborhoods could and should look like. Owner Sandy Hertel has made a bold move out of the Elmwood Village commercial district into an entirely different sort of neighborhood. Basically, Elmwood Village Fabrics used Elmwood Avenue to build up a significant clientele before heading out on its own to tackle a project that is truly inspirational. Not only did Sandy end up purchasing a beautiful old house, she managed to drastically increase the size of her business. That means that there’s more room for fabric, sewing accessories and classes.
EVF has experienced continued steady growth over the years, and the only way to accommodate that growth was to relocate. It’s a decision that many business owners contemplate, but rarely do for many reasons. I’ve had numerous conversations with Sandy over the years, and she always hinted that she would eventually find her dream business location. After moving from Bryant Street to Elmwood, I thought that she had found that “perfect spot”. But she continued to hint that she had bigger aspirations. I never imagined that the aspirations would entail purchasing a killer historic house on Franklin with enough room to build out a 1900 square foot showroom/workroom.
Not only is the interior of the house spectacular, Sandy enlisted Dave Majewski of Premium Services to add a bio retention bed with native plantings along the parking lot in order to capture rain runoff. In the back of the house Sandy has built out a modern apartment for supplemental income. Basically, she has created her own little urban oasis – a smart move that we rarely see happen. In this case safety in numbers doesn’t apply. It’s not often that we see this sort of retail investment happen outside of a commercial district – I hope that others consider doing the same, when the time is right and inspiration strikes.
Elmwood Village Fabrics
543 Franklin Street
Buffalo, NY 14202