CooCooU, Buffalo’s leading retailer in Mid Century Modern furniture and decor, closed its Chandler Street location. This occurred shortly after news that the building was being sold and would be transitioned to residential (see here). Instead of waiting around to find out, owner Michael Merisola set out looking for a space that would suit his needs. Thankfully he pinpointed a building that turned out to be right around the corner from his former Chandler Street location, where he had been for almost five years.
Today, CooCooU Modern can be found at 111 Tonawanda Street (2nd floor), a stone’s throw from another interesting development – The Railyard Lofts. In order for this circumstance to come together, the stars were certainly aligned. There are fewer fewer expansive warehouses around these parts – Michael happened to be at the right place at the right time for this one. Fans of CooCooU will be happy for a number of reasons, first of which is that the resilient Merisola says that he is in no mood to retire and will continue to put Buffalo on the map for his highly sought after and prized possessions that rival the best of them in Toronto and NYC.
The 2nd floor of 111 Tonawanda Street turned out to be the perfect spot for CooCooU – better than Hertel, the shop’s original location, and even better than Chandler Street. The sprawling space has allowed Merisola to ideally feature his best Mid Century treasures, all in one historic gallery-esque setting.
After clearing out the floor and removing drywall and dropped ceilings, Merisola stood back and said, “It’s perfect.” And it is perfect. There’s plenty of natural light, tall ceilings, exposed brick and significant architectural items of interest. There’s parking along the side of the building, an office space for the King of MCM, plenty of additional room to properly store the hoards of excess furniture that didn’t make the exhibit room cut, and it’s all on one floor (unlike Chandler Street).
The miraculous move has enabled Merisola to continue to source his prized Mid Century pieces, while further cultivating an audience that travels to Buffalo to pick through his impressive finds. Fans of CooCooU include Mike Ness, singer, guitarist and songwriter for Social Distortion, as well as the head executive of Toronto’s The Wynn Group, which recently purchased 69 Delaware Avenue (see here).
Merisola has a discerning eye for tracking authentic Mid Century finds, as well as an uncanny knowhow when it comes to deciphering what it is that he is looking at. He has spent most of his life hunting down hard to find chairs, tables, lights, artwork and any other significant turn of the century furnishings. In fact, Michael began collecting when most people thought that pieces from the era were still garbage.
Today Merisola is respected all over the country for his expertise on the subject. As Mid Century decor has come back into style, CooCooU has been the driving force behind the movement in Buffalo. Whether you are into the scene or not, a trip to this retro stronghold is nothing short of breathtaking. Each and every piece tells the story of a time when ultra progressive designers and craftspeople were bending and breaking the rules of what constituted furniture and decor. If you want to get a firsthand glimpse of the modernist movement, then by all means take a trip to CooCooU. If you’re into this sort of thing, be prepared to have your mind blown.