Another business incubator pop-up experience is underway in Downtown Buffalo. This particular pop-up is taking place inside the Market Arcade building. The following start-ups are featured:
- Bflo Boho – Hand-beaded glass jewelry (Judi Mohn-Griggs)
- Curtis Chameleon Books – Child super hero-themed children’s books (Sheryl Bryant)
- MMW Popcorn Bar – Specialty gourmet popcorn (Nia Badger)
- Willow’s Breeze – Organic skin care products (Janita Everhart)
The project activates empty storefronts by filling them with retailers on a short term basis, free of charge. Sinatra & Company Real Estate has agreed to provide the free retail space for Queen City Pop-Up participants.
“As we continue to grow Buffalo into an inclusive City of opportunity for all, the Queen City Pop-Up program complements our effort to draw more people into downtown’s central business district to shop – and to cultivate an environment for local small businesses to thrive,” said Mayor Brown.
“We are thrilled to bring Queen City Pop Up back to the Shops at Market Arcade, where there is so much synergy between the retailers, who are bringing new energy to the downtown area and giving residents great new places to shop,” Brandye Merriweather, BUDC Vice President of Downtown Development said.
I stopped over to talk to one of the pop-up exhibitors, Sheryl Bryant, who had just published a child super hero-themed children’s book titled Curtis Chameleon (Boy Wonder). While Bryant is from Buffalo, she currently resides in LA. I found it interesting that she told me that she comes back to Buffalo every year for the winter, because she loves the four seasons. Now she’s summering here in 2019 to participate in the pop-up experience.
Bryant told me that this new book of hers is the first in a series of 14. Each book deals with an issue that children must face. Her first release deals with the problem of bullying. With the advent of the internet and social media, bullying is worse than ever, and Bryant hopes to give kids the ammunition that they need to solve problems on their own, or with the help of a super hero kid-chameleon by the name of Curtis.
When asked what inspired the book project, Bryant said that she was wintering in Buffalo a while back, and she ran across a bunch of children who were trading adult super hero cards. She asked the kids if they had any child super heroes, to which they responded no. The conversation sparked the idea that led to the book. Two weeks later, she had Curtis as her figurehead. She ended up copying five of the initial manuscripts on a copy machine at the school where she taught, and the next time she came to Buffalo she handed the stapled copies to the five youth. The next time that they saw her, they asked for another Curtis Chameleon story, so she knew that she was on to something.
The early editions of the book didn’t have any images, and even her new release is very limited when it comes to imagery. Bryant mentioned that she felt that that was important. “I had an eighth grade girl come up to me and tell me that it was the first book that she ever fully read that didn’t have any pictures,” Bryant exclaimed. “I like to leave the imagery up the kids’ imaginations, although I am now drawing some little sketches on my own and including them in the book. I’m also looking for an artist who can help me come up with an image of a child that embodies all children.”
At the end of each Curtis Chameleon book, there are a few spare pages where kids can write a journal, or take the 10-Day Curtis Chameleon Challenge. This section is all about self empowerment, while setting unique guidelines on how to better oneself.
Each of the books is designed to be read proficiently in 55 minutes by a child. “That’s their attention span,” Bryant told me. “I really hope that kids read it with their parents, so that they can discuss the issues. This book is both kid and parent approved. I’m anticipating on getting it into the hands of a lot of Buffalo children, because they were the inspiration!”
Ultimately, Bryant would like to see her book series made into a movie. “It’s that powerful!”
The Summer 2019 Edition of Queen City Pop-Up is made possible thanks to Buffalo Urban Development Corporation (BUDC), Buffalo Place, and Working For Downtown.
Queen City Pop-Up: 2019 Summer Edition will run from now through August 31. Store hours are Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m-6:00 p.m., and Saturdays from noon-4:00 p.m. For more information go to: www.buffalourbandevelopment.com.
The Shops at Market Arcade, located at 617 Main Street.