Come June, Hertel will be the benefactor of a full blown, locally themed store called Buffalo Apparel Co. The retail shop, owned by Jeff Morreale, is the culmination of many years of conducting pop-ups at various events and festivals. According to Morreale, leading up to the storefront, he was attending upwards of 50 events a year, which allowed him to garner a pretty good base of loyal customers and fans for his business Buffalo Icon Apparel. Morreale has also launched over 50 different designs, related to such topics as the craft beer scene, Buffalo love, yoga, local festivals, wings, etc.
Morreale started off as a graphic/web designer, which he was heavily involved with for about ten years. “I’ve always been an artist,” he told me. “I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree from UB. For the last four years, I’ve been working on Buffalo Icon Apparel – the designs have been very popular. To me, it’s all about spreading good vibes and energy. But the time finally came to open a place, and graphic designer Michael Morgulis told me that Maria’s Italian Gifts had closed after being in business for 30 years. I felt that I would be following some good energy. Opening my own storefront will allow me to grow the business in different ways that I have not been able to do until now. I want to start my own clothing lines – I want to grow the Buffalo brand, and other national brands. The Hertel location will allow me to continue to interact with my customers – you can’t do that on the internet very well. I love the personal interaction.”
Morreale told me that the new shop would also allow him to have an office, and a workshop. He said that he has a goal to offer t-shirt making workshops to people as well. He also built a stage inside the shop, where he plans on hosting music nights, featuring acoustic artists.
Aside from his own graphic design pieces, Morreale will be bringing in 12 other local vendors to fill the shelves of the 1000 square foot store. “It will be the best that Buffalo has to offer,” he told me. “I’ll also be representing the graphic design traditions from Michael Morgulis, who is transitioning his own store into more of an art gallery space, selling prints and artwork. I’ll be selling his classic apparel designs – Michael’s passing the torch on to me. At the same time, I’m also going to be getting into the more fashionable aspects of Buffalo design, which I’m currently playing around with.”
From conducting pop-ups in Allentown, Canalside, The Galleria Mall, The Italian Festival, and countless other places, to having a stand-alone business on Hertel, Morreale sees his future as very bright. He’s planning on hosting a grand opening party sometime in June.
Morreale told me that he’s thrilled to be a part of the new growth on Hertel, and wants to add to the commercial district’s momentum.
Buffalo Apparel Co. can be found at Buffalo Icon Apparel on Facebook, or online at buffaloiconapparel.com. You can check out all of the goods there, or at 1415 Hertel Avenue, where Morreale has already held a soft opening.