Author: Bennett Collins
The new flagship Tim Hortons, dedicated to the man himself, held a soft opening at the Harbor Center this evening. Upon walking up to the new store, you are immediately greeted with a tricked-out blue and yellow Tim Hortons 1964 sign – a nice homage to both Mr. Hortons’ connection with the Buffalo Sabres as well as the new sister venue of the Sabres’ First Niagara Center.
Coming in the door, people were handed menus with hot and cold drinks and select foods, and were told that everything was on the house for the evening – a very nice touch, especially for those who were heading to the Sabres’ game. When I laid eyes on the layout of the store, I was honestly shocked at the quality design of the place: high ceilings, freshly laid floors, bare brick walls, hanging naked-incandescent light bulbs, a flat screen TV, and metal stools with sabres logos engraved.
There is also an educational aspect to the store too. After you order and wait off to the side for your food and drinks, you’re greeted with a wall dedicated to Tim Horton and his namesake store. A large wooden ‘HORTON’ spans the walls with various numbers that show off the name’s accomplishments, such as the 14,000 kids Tim Hortons Foundation sends to summer camp every year, the 124 games that Tim Horton played as a defenseman for the Buffalo Sabres, and 1985 – the year the first US-based Tim Hortons store opened in Amherst, New York.
The wall in the back of the store is dedicated to the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, also affectionately known as ‘the Aud’. A timeline of the Aud stretches across two walls, recounting the memory of the old Sabres’ venue and riddled with old ticket stubs that were sent in from all over.
Overall, the level of cultural nuance to Tim Hortons’ history in Buffalo is just fantastic. The regular chairs are even replicated after the old Aud – painted in blue and with yellow #2s on them (the decommissioned number of Tim Horton). The store also carries specially designed Tim Hortons Sabres large mugs that can only be purchased at the flagship store (although it was mentioned that a few local stores will receive a couple boxes of the mugs).
The manager confirmed that this is the one and only flagship store, and that no other store could compare. As one Sabres’ fan remarked – “It’s even better than the renderings!”
The flagship Tim Hortons officially opens for regular hours on Thursday.