After posting on a disaster of a redo on West Ferry earlier today, while pointing out the need for a more comprehensive rejuvenation plan for the street, I received a note from Bernice Radle, who had recently purchased and renovated a small building at 418 West Ferry.
It was almost a year ago when I posted that a new business called What’s Pop-In Gourmet Popcorn was moving into the building, but instead of the business opening shortly thereafter, Radle began work on restoring the edifice. The end result is two viable new storefronts, one of which is now occupied by the popcorn enterprise, while the other one is now home to Top Coat Nail Salon.
Not only is it nice seeing two new businesses making their marks on the street, it’s refreshing and encouraging to see a building owner do the right thing when it comes to making quality improvements on West Ferry. We can plainly see that Radle took the time to create a destination on the street, instead of a drive by.
Gone is the metal fencing on the doors, and the cheap siding that framed the storefronts. Today we see 10 new transom windows, and storefronts that pay homage to the historic nature of the building. The building is a welcome sight for sore eyes, especially after posting on the botch job at the corner of Ferry and Hoyt Streets.
“We did this project on a tight tiny budget with one goal – to create spaces that works for small business start ups,” said Radle. Whats Pop-In Gourmet Popcorn and Top Coat Nail Lounge are both perfect examples of what we wanted to accomplish – both of them are working parents with a dream, a solid product and serious hustle. I’ll repeat this because it’s necessary: not everything has to be perfect from day one. We follow this quote by Roosevelt in every project: ‘do what you can, with what you have, where you are.’ Incremental, small scale development is hard. Our world is designed for big, not small. The Buffalove Development processes, financials, team, clients, strategy… all of it is an ever changing ocean of trial and error as we try to make it work and put food on the table for our families.”
Hopefully the sensitive restoration of 418 West Ferry will help to encourage others on the street to do the right thing the next time they consider doing any building improvements. This is the perfect example of bucking a backwards trend on a thoroughfare that could one day become a significant connector between the East Side and the West Side, but it’s going to take a lot of work because so much has already been sacrificed.
Lead image courtesy Radle