Just the other day I was telling someone who recently moved to Buffalo that the book scene was more impressive than she might imagine. Similar to barbershops and vinyl stores, bookshops have been making a comeback – used books in particular. It’s nice to know that these old familiar comforts are bouncing back, filling up empty storefronts in ways that other retailers have not been able to muster.
Per the book scene, Buffalo is looking up. This coming Friday (October 23), Aaron Bartley will be opening the initial phase of his new venture, Fitz Books and Waffles. The “book” element will be unveiled at 433 Ellicott Street – this temporary brick and mortar location will serve its purpose while the full fledge Allentown shop is built out.
Bartley’s new book shop “will sell both new and used books, with a focus on contemporary fiction, art, and social movements.” Ultimately, the book and waffle café will become a place where people can gather together to strengthen Buffalo’s cultural, literary, and community action scenes, according to Bartley.
I asked Bartley what would become of the Ellicott storefront once he moves to his permanent location in Allentown, and he said, “Over here on Ellicott, they will be adding 2 stories of apartments to the building at some point, so that may affect retail space sometime in 2021.”
It would be nice to see this little retail corridor spring to life again post COVID. Hopefully someone opens in the old SeaBar Restaurant, as well as the former Washington Market space. The Hansa shared workspace recently opened. Then there’s the under-the-radar Niagara Distilling Company (1812 Vodka) space that could really be awesome for a cidery, distillery, brewery, etc. Toutant is a great asset too. Unfortunately we lost 435 Ellicott recently, which was a huge blow to the street – it would be nice to see this empty lot built upon in the future. And of course there is Maureen’s Buffalo Wholesale Flower Market – proprietor Maureen Bartley (Aaron’s mom) owns the building, which is located in what was once Buffalo’s Flower District. As for Fitz Books, the shop will be temporarily occupying a space at 431-33 Ellicott Street, whose owners submitted an expansion proposal in 2019.
Along with books (to start), Bartley will also be selling some mid-century modern furniture (in the back). Bartley is also acquiring books at this time – anyone looking for more information can visit the bookstore online.
Fitz Books | 433 Ellicott Street | Buffalo NY (temporary location)
Doors open this Friday, October 23rd at noon. There will be complimentary Paula’s Donuts and Public Coffee on Saturday from 10 AM to 3 PM.
Hours going forward are:
Tuesday through Friday: 12 Noon to 6 PM
Saturday: 10 AM to 3 PM
Due to COVID, masks will be required at all times, social distancing, and a maximum of 3 customers at a time in the 1000 square foot space.