There’s a new retail presence on Main Street, across from Delta Sonic, that is right out of Canal Street in NYC, back in the days when Canal Street was actually cool. Business partners and cousins Ali Alsaidi and Sam A. have brought a refreshing fashion concept to Main Street that is already the talk of the town (in certain circles). While Ali hails from Buffalo, Sam grew up in NYC. “I spent a lot of time visiting Buffalo,” Sam told me. “When Ali opened a retail hair concept store two years ago, at the corner of Masten and Riley, I immediately knew that he was onto something, but that he needed a location that had better street exposure. So I told him that I would partner up with him. Now, he has Oasis Hair & Beauty Supplies on one side, and I have 44 Fashion and Footwear on the other side. They are two separate stores, divided by a large sales’ counter in the middle. Altogether, we have 5000 square feet of space to fill.”
Incredibly, Sam and Ali have managed to fill the space. This past Sunday, I stopped in to check on these two (again), only to find them opening more boxes of merchandise to hang on the walls. Ali, who I call a “hair scientist” was working with customers to show them the best hair products, brushes, wigs, extensions, etc. If it has to do with hair, Ali is the man with the plan. Ali also carries color contacts (some with crazy designs), nail polish, oils, creams, and loads of other face and body products. As for Sam, he’s got his hands full trying to fulfill customers’ demands for the latest fashions – jeans, kicks, watches, sunglasses, hoodies, caps, etc. While Ali was talking shop with women looking for hair pointers, Sam was busy talking to customers on the phone about the latest Jordans that had arrived. “Yup, we got them in on Thursday,” said Sam, to one customer who had called looking for a particular Jordan release. “But they’re all gone. We should be getting others in soon. Yes… red? Well, we have…” And that’s where he lost me. Listening to Sam talk about the shelf life of Jordan’s was just as complicated as listening to Ali discuss hair techniques with his customers. Both of these guys are onto something, that is for sure… and their customers are loving it.
A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a cut-off jean jacket with some serious bling on it. The first time that I walked into a restaurant with the jacket, I had four people ask me where I got it. I should have loaded the breast pocket with business cards. I also picked up a rockin’ pair of shades, and a watch. While there is certainly an urban vibe going on here, there’s also plenty of fashion-forward items that cross into the realms of hipsterdom, and even drag. I was actually surprised at the cross-culture customer base that frequents the stores. Who would have thought that “hair” was such a thing? I’m also happy to see that Timberland boots have never gone out of style.
Talking to Sam and Ali, something is very clear. Not only do they pride themselves in having the most up to the minute urban fashion lines (at the best prices), they also care about their street presence. “We clean the sidewalks all the time,” Sam told me. “We take pride in being here, and we want others to join us in bringing this part of Main Street back. We knew we were taking a big chance with 5000 square feet, but we wanted to make our mark. We carry the newest trends out of NYC and Cali. Both businesses work well together – customers stop in to see what I’m carrying, and then walk next door. We believe that we’re making a big difference on the street. So far, we’ve been very happy with the response that we’ve gotten from our customers. It’s the reason that we continue to invest everything that we make back into the businesses. We want to make sure that we’re always fully stocked with the newest trends.”
I believe that Sam and Ali are the keys to the future of retail in the city/Downtown Buffalo. They have a keen sense of fashion, a drive to supply the latest and greatest products, and love for this city that drives them to go further every day. If you’re looking for a NYC type of urban shopping experience, we now have it right here in Buffalo. I’m very impressed with what I’m seeing unfold at this corner building. What a difference a year makes. Do you remember what it looked like not that long ago?
Oasis Hair & Beauty Supplies
1235 Main Street
44 Fashion and Footwear
1233 Main Street Buffalo NY