Iron Buffalo held its grand opening on Saturday, October 6 in Amherst featuring free coffee, free food, cosplayers, and more. Iron Buffalo is WNY’s newest comic book and gaming café. You can find the standard comic books, trading cards, tabletop games, Dungeons & Dragons books, and collectable figures for purchase like at other similar venues, but here, you can also grab a cup of coffee or tea while catching up on your favorite graphic novels.
The overall atmosphere is very casual and comfortable, with the comic store half and the coffee shop half blending perfectly. Marvel, DC, and independent comics are all represented on the shelves. The store is organized into clearly defined sections with the retail being in front and the lounge area with tables and chairs set up to play games and socialize are toward the back. A glass case primarily for Magic the Gathering cards rests in a corner across from the coffee/check-out counter. There are games available for public use. Customers can also bring in their own games to play with others. Scattered across the walls are decorations honoring Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and more. This creates a fun, nerdy vibe. Speaking of decorations that create a nerdy vibe, this place even has a giant dragon statue!
With it being part café, the menu is obviously important, and it definitely delivers.The special Iron Buffalo roast coffee is delicious. Special themed blends like the Dark Side Roast, Light Side Roast, and the Arc Reactor are coming soon. The hot chocolate is filled with flavor. There are also options for tea. Candy bars are sold at the counter if you are feeling snacky. In the near future, there will be pre-packaged baked goods such as danishes and breakfast burritos.
The store has a clear Iron Man theme throughout. The name of it is Iron Buffalo. The store’s logo features a fusion of Iron Man’s helmet with a buffalo. Iron Man pictures and figures prominently decorate part of the store, with a poster of Tony Stark in his armor lounging on the couch above one of the pews in the café. One may wonder “Why Iron Man?” Well, Iron Buffalo’s owner, Will Waterrose, has a special love for, and personally identifies with the character of Tony Stark. He even sometimes dons electronic Iron Man armor. This type of passion being put into one’s work or business typically has a hugely positive impact on it, which is what really excites me about this store. Will is putting his heart into this, which will cause this business to grow into something special.
Will plans to make sure Iron Buffalo is the best hangout spot for everyone. Yes, this is a perfect place for us nerds looking for comics and games, but Will wants to ensure that even those who aren’t as interested in those activities will be able to enjoy the store. He does so with the unifying power of coffee, by playing Sabres and Bills games on the TV, and by creating a safe and friendly environment for all. His goal was to create a safe place for people to meet up and feel comfortable having conversations about movies, games, comics, and anything else their hearts desire, and he did just that.
Will has a lot of plans for Iron Buffalo that are worth looking forward to. He has hopes of using his store as an event space for various activities, such as cosplay-building workshops for kids, trading card game events, movie viewing nights, a Star Wars night, a horror board game night, and “Learn to Play Nights” for Dungeons and Dragons, Magic the Gathering, and board games. He also wants cosplay to be a big part of Iron Buffalo. In fact, don’t be too surprised if you see some cosplayers shopping or playing games while you’re there. Cosplayers can even get a discount for shopping there in costume.
Although few and far between, there are some drawbacks to Iron Buffalo like there is to everything. Even though Iron Buffalo is on a main road, the building and sign are blocked by trees and a 7-Eleven when traveling from one end of the street, potentially making it easy to miss at first. For the moment, much of the shelves are rather barebones. There could be a larger selection of comics, games, and figures for purchase. However, the store did just open up and more product will be coming in the near future, like more comics, manga, a bigger coffee selection, miniatures, dice, custom lightsabers, and indie comics aimed at empowering women.
Iron Buffalo is without a doubt one of the most unique places in WNY. It definitely makes itself stand out from the other gaming and comic shops in the area. It is one of the best hangout spots imaginable whether you’re a nerd or just want to drink coffee while enjoying the Bills or Sabres game. The shop has only been open for a week, so we’ll be seeing it evolve in the near future. There’s even a suggestion sheet in store so Will can see what the public may want out of their experience there. The grand opening was a strong start, and it’ll certainly only be growing from here. I’ll check in again in a few months to update my nerdy readers on the evolution of the shop. Iron Buffalo has taken flight, and I’m excited to see it soar.