One of the city’s most prolific “Buffalo” designers has set up shop in a handsome new storefront at 110 Genesee Street, right next to Marble + Rye Restaurant. After a year of searching for the perfect spot, Rob Hopkins, founder and designer of Buffalo Made, has touched down in a sophisticated setting, where he will practice design and sell regionally sourced Buffalo Made branded products.
The front of the space is a retail shop featuring lines that include Parkhurst Boots and Honest Apothic (soap, body wash, etc). Hopkins has an interesting take when it comes to retail and design. A number of the products that he has sourced came about because he helped to design the logos, packaging, etc. for the businesses. If he couldn’t find a certain item locally, he figured out a way to put a Buffalo spin on the product. Take, for example, the sleek steel and wood pocket knife – Hopkins laser etched the Buffalo Made logo right into the wood. “These are all things that I want and like,” Hopkins told me. “But I make my own versions.”
Towards the back of the retail space, Hopkins has an office and studio for his company Stronghold Design Studio. He has also carved out a space for a gallery. Currently, he’s teaming up with a local photographer by the name of Ryan Kell (Seek Axiom), who is unveiling his first show as I type. Hopkins and Kell have worked together before – Kell shoots all of Hopkins’ lifestyle photography. “His look is nothing I could ever come close to,” said Hopkins. “We have a great working relationship, and the space suits his work.” The exhibit, which opens today (Saturday, July 27, noon to 8pm*) is titled My Demons/My Muse. I asked Kell how he describes his artistic work and he explained, “It’s dark and visceral. It makes people uncomfortable… but there is beauty in darkness.”
Down the road, Hopkins and Kell hope to work closer together, because this space is calling both of their names. They also have a great working relationship and similar style ethics. Both dig working with a range of Buffalo clients, ranging from Misuta Chow’s to Breezy Burrito. In fact, these two have an uncanny knack for drawing a large number of Buffalo’s most beloved businesses to their sides as design clients – it’s plain to see by simply strolling around the Buffalo Made digs and spying all of the different products and brands. This shop has an eclectic variety of cleverly curated products – there’s even a dog balm, and an Olmsted solid cologne, not to mention the throwback Golden Key Tavern t-shirt (The Bar Series) that I had to snag before departing. Next time I’ll pick up some coffee beans, soap, and maybe even a leather belt.
It is interesting to note, that when Hopkins was living in San Diego, upwards of a decade ago, he launched a Buffalo line called Queen City Studio. We actually wrote about it at the time. It turns out the developer Rocco Termini read the article, reached out to Hopkins, and offered him a space in his new newly built (then) Oak Street Lofts. “After talking to Rocco, I figured why not? So I moved back to Buffalo, and here I am today right around the corner from that same development,” said Hopkins. “I love being next to Marble + Rye, and I did some design work for Casa Azul (a few doors down). When the weather is nice, I open the garage door for inspiration.” This scenario alone is also of interest, because the refurbished Genesee Gateway building across the street was once graffiti tagged with the wording, “Will the last person to leave Buffalo please turn off the lights?” My, how far we have come since those dark days.
Buffalo Made | 110 Genesee Street | Buffalo NY | 716-903-2570 |
*With special guest Nickel City Vice (ice cream).