We should all be rallying around retail in downtown Buffalo. Over the years, we’ve seen sparks of a retail movement, with little traction. Currently, the restaurants and cafés are leading the way, but there are pioneers like Keelin Burke (owner of Realm) who are planting flags in downtown Buffalo, and waiting for the favorable winds to blow.
Over the weekend, I finally got a chance to stop into the temporary Realm shared space, where there was a pop-up market underway. I must say that it is these types of collective pop-up enterprizes that I love seeing make a go of it downtown. During my visit, I talked to a number of young entrepreneurs and makers, who were visibly excited to take part in the Realm experience.
One of those makers was Corrie Allen (lead image), who is in the business of creating and selling original wearable art. It turns out that Carrie is having a gallery show at Realm this coming Monday, November 8, with an opening reception from 7:30pm to 9pm.
Corrie, it turns out, attended SUNY Buffalo State, where she was able to gather the tools that would lead her into an entrepreneurial career in the field of textile design. Today she is able to infuse her artistic talents into her products, by transferring her own emotional experiences into representational patterns. These design patterns are then applied to clothing and accessories, including sneakers. You can see some of Corrie’s creations on her Instagram page. You can also attend the upcoming show, to see some of her original works of art.
Prior to heading out on my next downtown adventure, I picked up a couple of pieces of apparel, including a sharp bicycle bandana, and a colorful t-shirt by local designer Robert Rusch. I figured that I needed to beef up my attire for a visit to Hombre y Lobo, which just opened around the corner.
But before leaving, I had a discussion with Keelin about the hunt for more retailers, to create a real shopping experience Downtown, anchored somewhere between her temporary shared space at 441 Ellicott Street, and her (coming soon) permanent space at 130 Genesee Street. Keelin is of the belief that with a good mix of product offerings, and some retail density, everyone will be able to thrive.
Currently, there are a number of retail shop locations coming online in the area, as well as some more restaurant concepts (stay tuned). The building blocks are all laying around, and need to be pieced together. If you know someone who is interested in delving into the world of retail in downtown Buffalo, Keelin wants to talk that person(s).
In the meantime, stop on over to Realm and load up on some awesome one-of-a-kind merchandise that makes ideal presents for the holiday season. Don’t wait for the overseas supply chain bottleneck to break free… support your local marketeers instead!