As I walked down Main Street, from the Theatre District to the grand opening of Furnishings (at Mohawk), I took in some of the street’s recent accomplishments and future opportunities along the way. I discussed some of these opportunities with the owners of Buffalo Adore, who I ran into at the opening (last evening). We agreed that there needed to be some more retail on the street (among other things), along with all of the restaurants that were popping up. So as I walked back along Main Street on my way home, I began to think of retail opportunities.
One of the take aways from this exercise jumped out at me just after I passed by Shea’s. There I stood in front of Tent City – a retail store that had been around since I was a kid. I remember the inside of tent city was always packed with all sorts of rugged outdoor clothing, shoes and accessories. I believe that some of the merchandise has changed, since I was young, to reflect more of an urban attitude. The inside of Tent City is pretty mammoth, and they stock everything from Timberland boots to parkas. Peering in through the door last night, I was impressed with the amount of merchandise that is still available, but you would never know it because the windows are covered with brand signage. If Tent City was to remove the graphics off the windows, and create real storefront displays, I bet that they would attract hundreds of new shoppers that have no idea what is even available inside.
According to Buffalo Place, Tent City stocks, “Timberland, Nike, Carhartt and Columbia. From leather jackets and winter coats to work clothes, shoes boots and camping gear.” I’m sure that the business has not done much to adjust its merchandise selection to those who are now living in Downtown Buffalo, or even to the people who are visiting. There was a time (recently actually) that Main Street was in sleep mode, and maybe the only thing to do was to shutter the windows, to not attract attention to the goods. But times have changed, and I bet that beautifully lit window displays would help to put Tent City back on the map for an establishing clientele that doesn’t know anything about the place. It could be a win-win for the business and the city.
Tent City is located in a gorgeous building. If the transom windows were replaced and the storefront played off the character of the facade, this would be a dynamite setting for any business – especially one that has withstood the test of time in Downtown Buffalo.
Tent City | 674 Main Street | Buffalo, New York 14202 | Phone (716) 853-1515