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Sole Man Surfaces

Brian Gavigan, Buffalo’s youngest cobbler, held a soft opening this past weekend. He invited friends and family to check out his new operation, which is not quite up and running, but will be in about a week’s time. At this point, all of the buffing and stitching machines are in place – something that Brian told me was no easy task.


I was surprised to see such a large retail presence at the shop. The walls are filled with classic looking men’s shoes. Upstairs looks as if LL Bean exploded – there are handsome leather bags, ties, hats, scarves, jackets and numerous other articles of clothing and accessories. The place looks very put together, with antique displays that reflect the nature of the merchandise.


The Perfection sign looks great in its new home. In fact, this “home” has been out of the public eye for the most part, as it formerly housed an advertising agency. The interior is perfectly suited for this type of retail/cobbler operation. It looks as if the interior was custom built for just such a use.


I stopped in to congratulate Brian on his newfound success. After discussing a couple of leather repair jobs that I had in store for him, he gave me a quick tour of the place. The photo below is of Brian holding up a shoe from his custom label – his brand is sharp and distinctive, made with the finest materials.


The rest of the shoe lines are super smooth and should appeal to a wide audience. Sole Man is a great addition to Elmwood, and the city of Buffalo. It’s so neat seeing a young guy switch up careers and head into an old world artisan career. He’s got a sure hit on his hands and underfoot – I am already fielding calls as to when he is going to be open for daily business.


There’s an excitement about this type of business opening, which is funny to think about. First we saw the comeback of vinyl. Then is was Prohibition style cocktails. After that, a fleet of breweries and distilleries. Third wave coffee then came onto the scene. Now a cobbler has opened, signaling the arrival of a craft that was thought to be disappearing. I hope that we continue to see these types of old world crafts emerge as Buffalo continues to evolve.

Sole Man – 565 Elmwood – Corner of Elmwood and Anderson – Website and Facebook coming soon

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Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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