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Vintage Matters: Buffalo’s “Brooklin” Flea

Eight years ago an idea found legs, as Newell Nussbaumer and Dr. Michael Calabrese created an urban vintage market – much like the famous Brooklyn Flea in Williamsburg and Fort Lee neighborhoods downstate. To repurpose an available parking lot on weekends at the bustling corner of West Ferry and Elmwood as a place for local vendors to sell was, in this writer’s opinion, brilliant. And this brilliant idea is called The Peddler.

Did you know that Revolver Records, with a shop on Hertel and a shop on Elmwood, got its start at The Peddler?

An antique shop on Elmwood is not a new concept.  The beauty of a weekly Flea on Elmwood is the chance for sellers who cannot commit to a brick and mortar shop, an opportunity to sell to folks enjoying a stroll down through the Elmwood Village. The Peddler enjoys a day’s worth of busy weekend shoppers and the neighborhood enjoys another element of uniqueness to their community.

Brooklin (the mascot of The Peddler)

Scott O’Connor, the current proprietor of The Peddler, can be found on any Saturday (or Sunday if Saturday was rained out) from 9am to 5pm on Elmwood and West Ferry, overseeing the day’s event with his English Setter, Brooklin at his side. If you came of age in Buffalo in the 80’s and 90’s in Buffalo, you might recognize Scott from one of his many gigs as a bouncer at The Continental or Rude Boys. The years have softened him a bit, but the tales he tells are as timeless as the things for sale at the market.  And if by chance ever want to set up to sell, Scott is the man to ask about the details, as he works hard to keep the quality of merchandise in the vintage vein. 

As a weekly customer and sometimes vendor, The Peddler is my favorite local market. As a buyer, The Peddler is where you can find a 1970’s lounge chair rubbing elbows with an AFC Champs Bills t-shirt, while a stall away you can find an object d’art for your garden or a vintage pull-down school map for your walls. Antique tools, mid-century housewares, retro costume jewelry, used vinyl and books, vintage clothes – a bit of everything all on one corner. It is a well curated Flea that is hip, friendly and affordable. Occasionally, an artist will set up to sell their work, but for the most part, you will not find “new” things at this market.

The breadth of Peddler merch.

As a seller, I love The Peddler not only for the opportunity to share my working knowledge with my customers, but for what the customers have to share with me. Here is a place I can educate someone on mid-century modern or Buffalo’s Simon Pure Brewery. In turn, they often share what they do professionally, where they grew up or – a frequently trend most recently- what brought them to Buffalo. Dig a little deeper, and it is quick work to find who we know in common, a Buffalo phenomenon, that we are all only a friend or two apart.  

From the 1860’s to the 1970’s, fun stuff to peruse.

The Peddler has become a Saturday morning ritual worth indulging. Armed with a coffee and a something to nosh on from the Bidwell Farmer’s Market down the street, this Flea is fun, friendly and as interesting as the community that surrounds it. Each year The Peddler sees more customers, vendors and honestly, better quality merchandise to buy and sell. If you have not experienced the energy that is a Saturday on Elmwood, I highly recommend it. From the diverse numbers of cafés, patios and restaurants, to the colorful characters that make the Queen City on the Lake so attractive, The Peddler is a wonderful addition, and also a great place to spend the “dog days” of summer. 

The full spectrum of things to find at The Peddler

Learn more about the hunt for antiques and vintage items in Buffalo, and surrounding areas, as it pertains to outdoor markets and fleas.

Written by Steven Appler

Steven Appler

Antique aficionado, Steven Appler launched his passion for the hunt at the tender age of twelve, combing the wilds of South Park Lake in South Buffalo for cone-top beer cans, but instead finding a dead body. Since then, he has kept busy as an artist, art educator and college professor, and passionate antique picker, seller, and enthusiast of art and design, history, and research. A vintage find that is meaningful to you aesthetically, emotionally or monetarily is what makes antiquing such a worthwhile experience. Steven loves to share his knowledge from over 40 years of antiquing with his customers, and now his readers.

View All Articles by Steven Appler
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