One of the movers and shakers of Buffalo’s retro retail scene suddenly passed on this past December. A couple of weeks ago, I awoke to the sad, sad news that Lucy Perrone-Mancuso, owner of MODA Vintage on Hertel, was no longer with us. For those who are familiar with vintage jewelry, furniture, clothing, and the like, you are aware of what a tremendous loss this is. Lucy’s love of vintage items, and knowledge of the mid-century industry, was only surpassed by her kindhearted nature.
For as long as I can remember, Lucy has had a retail presence in Buffalo. I recall visiting Lucy in her Elmwood shop on a regular basis back in the day. About a decade ago, she supersized her space by moving to Hertel. Three weeks ago, I stopped in to catch up with Lucy, who was never more excited about her business. She told me that she had outgrown the Hertel location, and was not sure what to do with her massive amount of inventory, which was literally wall wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling. She told me that she was so excited because she had just purchased a significant amount of jewelry and clothing from a couple of sisters who had been collecting their entire lives. It was the best mid-century collection that she had ever come across – she was gushing with excitement.
I remember thinking at the time, how lucky Buffalo was, to have such a charismatic store owner, who had made such an impressive mark on her city. Much of her clientele was made up of Torontonians who would come to visit her shop because there was nothing like it in their own city, she told me. I was so happy for her and her good fortune. All of her collecting… all of her mastery of the industry… combined with her fondness for her supportive retro colleagues, and ultimately her love of Buffalo… Lucy will be missed more than anyone can imagine.
Lucy’s family is not quite sure what they are going to do with Moda Vintage at this point in time. The boutique stands as a lifelong testament to Lucy’s collecting prowess. A member of her family passed along a GoFundMe fundraiser page that has been set up to alleviate the costs of funerary services. There will be a service at St Marks Lutheran Church 576 Delaware Road on Saturday, January 19 at 10 am.
I hope that someone steps up to take over Moda – Lucy’s dream come true. The only problem is that Moda was Lucy, and Lucy was Moda. It’s rare that a person and a concept can be so intertwined. But that’s what made Moda (and Lucy) so darn special.