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Bringing Back Buffalo | Retail – Part I

There used to be a time in Buffalo’s history when you did not have to go far to do your shopping. Your local grocery store, movie theatre, or haberdasher were mere blocks from where you lived! It was during the Christmas holiday when the city’s business districts were at their busiest.

My mother was raised in the former Willert Park projects on Jefferson Avenue. She has often described the many shops that once existed in the nearby Broadway-Fillmore District, which was designated as a Local Historic District this past May. The cornerstone of what some still recognize as Little Polonia is the Broadway Market, which to this day continues to serve as a gathering ground for local merchants. My mom keeps a family tradition alive by picking up a Thanksgiving turkey and an Easter ham from the Broadway Market each year.

You can still do your shopping in local neighborhoods. Broadway-Fillmore is just one of numerous commercial districts around the city, where each has their own stories to tell about the lines of shops that used to characterize the city as a whole. The more you spend at local vendors, the more you are contributing to the revitalization of our historic neighborhoods and our local economy.

The following is a brief guide of nearby shopping districts:

Allentown

  • Antique Clothing
  • Antique Furniture
  • Bicycles
  • Specialty Gifts
  • Women’s Apparel

Black Rock / Riverside

  • Antique Furniture
  • Appliances
  • Music & Entertainment
  • Specialty Gifts
  • Women’s Apparel

Broadway-Fillmore

  • Antique Furniture
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Foods
  • Hats
  • Men’s Apparel
  • New Furniture
  • Shoes
  • Specialty Gifts
  • Women’s Apparel

Elmwood Village

  • Children’s Apparel
  • confectionaries
  • Consignments
  • Culinary Supplies
  • Health & Beauty Supplies
  • Jewelry
  • Men’s Apparel
  • Organic Foods
  • Shoes
  • Specialty Gifts
  • Tea Shops
  • Toys & Games
  • Women’s Apparel

Five Points

  • Arts & Crafts
  • Garden Shop
  • Wines & Liquor

Grant-Ferry

  • Books
  • Foods
  • Hardware
  • Shoes
  • Specialty Gifts
  • Women’s Apparel

Hertel Avenue

  • Antiques
  • Books
  • Jewelry
  • Men’s Apparel
  • New Furniture
  • Pet Supplies
  • Women’s Apparel

Jefferson Avenue

  • Antique Furniture
  • Books
  • Men’s Apparel
  • Music & Entertainment
  • Shoes
  • Women’s Apparel

Kensington-Bailey

  • Jewelry
  • Men’s Apparel
  • Shoes
  • Women’s Apparel

Lovejoy

  • Florist
  • Hardware
  • Pet Shop

South Buffalo

  • Antique Clothing
  • Antique Furniture
  • Books
  • Men’s Apparel
  • Specialty Gifts
  • Women’s Apparel

Downtown

  • Women’s Apparel
  • Wines & Liquor
  • Cigars
  • Men’s Apparel and Women’s Apparel (Market Arcade and Ellicott Square Building)
  • Pet Supplies
  • Specialty gifts and Buffalo Gifts (Market Arcade)

Businesses/organizations such as Preservation Buffalo Niagara and Preservation Studios are working hard to protect the historic fabric of our neighborhoods. But you can help too by voting with your wallet; when you’re doing your holiday shopping, show that there is an investment to be made in the local retail of our neighborhoods!

A story about one of Buffalo’s commercial districts lost to history will be discussed in Part II.

Written by Bradley Bethel

Bradley Bethel

Bradley J. Bethel Jr. was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. He received his Bachelor’s in Environmental Design from the University at Buffalo, and a Master’s in Visual Communications from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Deeply involved with community development, Bradley has worked in numerous non-profit programs, including Locust Street Arts, Clean Air Coalition, and the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County. He has also provided visual branding for the Restore Our Community Coalition and Preservation Buffalo Niagara. His freelance graphic design services has won awards and accolades for his clients.

Bradley has been writing articles for Buffalo Rising since 2013, using his extensive research on Buffalo’s rich heritage.

Visit his website at: http://www.bjbmultimedia.com

View All Articles by Bradley Bethel
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