Buffalo Women’s Consortium (BWC), an organization that first made an appearance at The Flutterby Festival, is now preparing for its grand opening (a soft opening) at The Market Arcade. After embarking upon its one-day pop-up at the festival, and then hosting a weekend bazaar at 193 Delaware Avenue in early December, founders Holly Metz-Doyle and Jennifer Stockman opted to try out a longer holiday stint at The Market Arcade.
The response was positive enough that the duo decided that it might be a good idea to establish more of a permanent presence at The Market Arcade. While the holiday pop-up was not always as busy as they wanted on a consistent basis, they began to realize that it was important to invest more time and energy into creating something that had more longevity.
Speaking with Holly, she told me that a crucial component, when it comes to sustaining a vital market venue, is density of invested businesses. While it might be nice to think that a pop-up will drive traffic to a building, what drives year round traffic is actually the permanence of amenities. Once you have enough grounded, reliable businesses, then it’s time to sprinkle in the pop-ups.
Moving forward, besides holding regular hours via their new Showroom and Gallery, Holly and Jennifer want to help bolster The Market Arcade by co-hosting events, while drumming up some other creative ideas to draw more foot traffic to the building. And what a building it is – it’s got all of the components that any retailer could hope for, which is why BWC will be such a welcome component to the mix.
“Jen and I see ourselves becoming the Angie’s List for women produced art and design in Buffalo,” Holly told me. “If you’re looking for someone to help pick out fabrics, turn seashells that you find at the beach into a necklace, throw a party and need an incredible table setting… we have someone that can help with just about anything. We are also forming a group called The Designing Women of The Market Arcade – there are so many shops that are run by artsy women selling creative items.”
As for the BWC member showroom and gallery, Holly said that there will be 23 artists and artisans represented at the soft opening (see Facebook event). “We are trying to create a space that appeals to all of the senses,” she affirmed. “From brewing and selling locally made teas to the vast gallery wall, there’s so much going on at the new space. We can even create gift baskets for any occasion, including Valentine’s Day. Our gifts are made locally with love. Everything is unique and different. The items that we sell range from $4 to $400 – everything has a story, and no one should ever feel intimidated walking in.”
For the first time, The Market Arcade’s ground floor is actually full enough, that one of the long time entrepreneurs is venturing out – spreading her wings and relocating to a stand-alone business across Main Street. There are also a handful of new businesses setting up shop at The Market Arcade, thus establishing strength in numbers as well as a solid mix of businesses (stay tuned for more on that front)… not to mention the mutual successes at EXPO food court, right next door.
Come celebrate the opening of the Buffalo Women’s Consortium’s Member Showroom and Gallery this weekend. The event kicks off on Friday, February 7 at 11am, with a wine and cheese Happy Hour from 5pm to 7pm. Doors also open on Saturday, February 8, starting at noon, with a wine and cheese Happy Hour from 3pm to 5pm, including live sitar music by Narayan Padmanabha.