Buffalo is known for its antique stores. At the same time, there’s a mixed bag of stores – some are more thrifty, others more posh, and then there are the complete diamonds in the rough that are on a whole different level.
I can’t tell you how many times I have passed by Sloan’s Antiques on William Street on the city’s East Side and never stopped inside. I always remembered thinking, “Wow, what a beautiful building – it would be great to see it fixed up some day.”
Because of the outward appearance, I pretty much thought that it was closed… or if it was still open, the inside probably mirrored the exterior.
It took my friend Garrett Vorreuter to show me the error of my ways – Vorreuter, who is a filmmaker, sent me a video that he shot that features the cast and characters of Sloan’s Antiques. The video made such an impression on me, that I decided I needed to go see the place for myself.
Sloan’s Antiques is a magical treasure trove of curios and oddities. There is so much fascinating history enshrined within the four story building (3 that are open to the public) that it’s actually mind-boggling to wrap your head around it all. It’s impossible to take it all in on a first-time visit. There are architectural curiosities, religious artifacts, antique toys, radios, furniture, art, photos, movie posters, props, trunks, signs, frames, games, lamps, hats, costumes, dolls… there are even items that left me baffled as to what they even were.
During the tour of the three floors in search of anything and everything that caught my eye and piqued my interest, I found myself talking to the owners – the same family that has owned the building/business for over 60 years – Max and Liz Sloan and their children, Jessica and Josh. Max, whose father “Sol Ber (Shoal Bear) Shlomovitz” escaped persecution after his family members were put to death during the Holocaust (Auschwitz, Dachau etc.), told me about some of the sad history, before suggesting that I read more about it online. He also told me that when his father came to America, he opened a gun shop across the street, because he was never going to let anyone take his family away from him again. The gun shop is long gone, but the memories remain, as does the Sloan (Americanized name) family, who are now the keepers of the relics that collectively tell the tale of Buffalo – the businesses and the families – that might otherwise be forgotten in time.
Between the history of the family and the history of the accumulations, my mind was spinning. I’ve seen some antique and architectural troves in Buffalo before, but nothing like this. I could not believe that I never knew that all of these antiquities were lying in wait within this building.
Over the years, Sloan’s Antiques has supplied a number of films with set props, including The Long Kiss Goodnight, Manna From Heaven, Marshall, and The True Adventures of Wolfboy.
For those in the know, they have become a source of inspiration – a stroll though the building is akin to stepping back in time.
To get an idea about what sort of riches lie in wait, you can pay a visit to their ebay catalogue. Or you can just pop by for a visit, and possibly a yarn or two.
Sloan’s Antiques | 730 William Street | Buffalo NY | Tel: 716.553.5314 | Hours