I have a hard time passing by an open garage doorway filled with furniture and odds and ends. That was the case yesterday afternoon, when I rolled past a peculiar looking narrow garage space on East Ferry, a few doors down from Main Street. “What the heck is that?” I asked myself.
As I walked in, I was greeted by Neil Gerard, the owner of the place. The place? Oh yeah, it’s called The Story Garage. I immediately congratulated Gerard on the opening of his shop. He replied that he had been there for three years. “How could that be possible?” I thought.
According to Gerard, he doesn’t open when it’s below 40 degrees out, and he is always on the hunt for new merchandise, which might pull him away from his business from time to time. But other than that, he assured me that he is open seven days a week.
Perplexed at how this flea market-esque shop eluded me for so long, I began to wander towards the back to see what I had been missing. Right off the bat, I found a set of retro glassware that I had been trying to track down for 15 years. That told me that I was meant to be there on that exact day. Not only am I a big fan of these types of unexpected funds, I am also happy to see it set up in such a totally random old garage space.
Gerard told me that the neighborhood had come to depend on him being there – he tries to collect things that he knows will move quick. He also said that people from the Elmwood Village had begun to find him. As for his goods, he tends to pick up loads of merchandise all at once, and sells the small stuff for peanuts. Even the larger items, couches, old radios, and clothing, he lets go for a good deal. That’s why his customer base is so strong – he would rather sell it than let it sit around collecting dust.
As I browsed the shop, a buddy of mine by the name of Timmy McMahon walked in. McMahon told me that it was one of his favorite places to pick up random stuff, and that the merchandise is always changing. Once again, I was stunned that this place had slipped under my radar – I had passed by countless times and never spied the garage door open.
Gerard mentioned that he tends to donate a lot of his merchandise to families in need. He is working with another business outfit called Expert Moving (located right around the corner) to find homes for all of the excess furniture that they get stuck with – apparently moving companies tend to get left with a lot of discarded items. What a great idea!
Once I had had my fill of browsing, I took my glassware up to Gerard and asked, “How much?” He replied, “They’re yours – these are some of the smalls that I come across that I don’t really count as merchandise… you can have them.” So I threw down five bucks for a tip, thanks him profusely, and walked out.
I almost expected the place to be gone when I turned around to take a photo… some sort of a hallucination, perhaps? But there it was… and there he was – this mystery man with a mysterious shop on East Ferry. If you’re lucky, you too will come across this gently-used-wares oasis that is constantly introducing affordable goods to those who have come to appreciate them.
The Story Garage | 28 East Ferry | Buffalo NY 14209 | 716-343-0905 | Stop by, or call for an appointment