The 2021 Holiday Shopping Guide is a unique blend of independently owned and operated businesses in a variety of industries, such as retail, food, dining, arts, non-profit, and more, all designed to encourage WNY residents to #shoplocal. Sponsored by Visit Buffalo Niagara and Erie County, the 2021 guide will explore all the unique shopping districts that Erie County has to offer. To view this year’s full holiday shopping guide, click here!
The corner of Michigan and Broadway is the heart of Buffalo’s African-American history and heritage. Here you’ll find the Colored Musicians Club and Museum, the Michigan Street Baptist Church and the Nash House – three institutions that made significant contributions to the life of the community and today form the foundation of Buffalo’s efforts to create a heritage tourism district. Plans are in the works to restore a building adjacent to the Baptist Church that will include a visitor center designed to tell the stories of the people who lived, worked and passed through this historic neighborhood. A few blocks away, you’ll find Jefferson Avenue, the commercial heartbeat of Buffalo’s near East Side and businesses like Zawadi Books, Golden Cup Coffee and Doris Records.
Doris Records Inc is not a kitsch record shop riding the vinyl revival wave. This store is a staple that’s survived since the early days of LP and on through 8tracks, CDs, and the Sam Goodys of the world. Slowly expanding over the years from a one room shop off the corner of Jefferson and E. Ferry, to eventually occupying the whole building, Doris’s has not only survived the change in music formats and distribution, but also the fall and ongoing rise of the city around it.
Established in 1962, Doris Records opened their doors to a much different Jefferson street than the one we see today. At the time, Jefferson was a booming, predominantly black owned commercial district. The building the store occupies, once contained 2 other businesses including a restaurant.The small record shop was opened by Mack Luchey and his wife, Doris, after working together at another record store down on Broadway. His son, who goes by Big Pete, still runs the shop today. When I asked how long he had been working there, he told me 1972. It wasn’t until talking with him about the original shop that I realized ’72 was actually the year he had been born. He jokes about being born right in the back office, and after hearing about the deep family roots in the shop, I wouldn’t be surprised.The walls are covered in a mix of family photos taped up next to promotional flyers and posters.
To reiterate, Doris Records is the record store Rick James spent his childhood in, and recognized as a major influence in his career. Don’t believe the story? Then head down to Dorris Records, and ask Big Pete for yourself, he’s most likely there. It’s the perfect place to stop to snag some unique records and music for the music aficionado in your life!
The Golden Cup philosophy for delivering a unique cup of coffee consists of three golden rules. The first rule is to have a clear vision of the flavor and aroma that Golden Cup represents. The second rule is to select the best coffee beans from around the world. The roasting and blending of quality beans by an experienced and creative coffee roaster will produce a high premium cup of coffee. Third, and perhaps the most important rule, is to make each roast with the consumer in mind; they want their consumers to experience a fresh and flavorful cup of coffee in the morning and throughout the day.
Golden Cup offers their own blends. Their African Gold is a blend of 100% Kenyan, Ethiopian and Tanzanian Arabica beans. African coffee beans are characterized for their unique aromas and sweet, fruity, and spicy flavors. Their Buffalo Roast is warm, bold and delicious, consisting of a darker roasted blend from their top Latin American coffees. Their House Blend is a well balanced blend of fine Central & South American coffees with a profoundly rich taste and energizing aroma, perfect for those who prefer a milder flavor.
If you’re looking for a great cup of coffee, we recommend stopping at Golden Cup. Pick some bags or k-cups for the coffee lover in your life while you’re there!
For those looking to own books or expand an existing library, shopping local is a great way to seek advice while also engaging in the community. Owners of Zawadi Books, Sharon and Kenneth Holley, share a deep rooted love for reading that has taken them beyond the realms of reality, and offered peace and tranquility in times of stress.
Located in the Maston District, Zawadi Books is a bookstore that specializes in books and materials that are by and about people of African descent. Their store holds author readings, book discussions, a Reading Room, and houses a storytelling resource center. They offer books in a wide variety of genres, from fiction authors like Octavia Butler and Candice Carty-Williams to current events and social issues by authors like the great Ta-Nehisi Coates and Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, they have something for everyone. If you aren’t sure what book would be the perfect gift for that special friend or family member, their friendly and knowledgeable staff will happily assist you in finding the perfect book.
Owners Janaine Gates and Michelle Matthews are not only business partners, they are also family – Janaine is Michelle’s niece. The two opened Maasai Consignment Boutique in 2018 after spending years dreaming about the venture. Both women have “an eye” for attractive, gently used merchandise. They told me that they travel as far as they need, to find all of the goods, much of which is on consignment*. But they also hit up a lot of estate sales, looking for antiques and vintage wares, including mirrors, furniture, and intriguing odds and ends.
What is especially endearing about this joint venture is that the two women made a pact to open the store in their own neighborhood, thus bucking the trend of businesses moving out. “There are no more furniture stores around here,” they told me. “The owner of the building believed in us. He could have rented the space to a liquor store, but instead he held out for us. We are blessed to have this storefront. After sitting vacant for a while, we got to work cleaning it up, from the floors to the new sign out front, which we made ourselves. Residents in the neighborhood are so excited to see us here. There’s nowhere else to shop for furniture – Rent-A-Centers are too expensive, but most of the time people don’t have a choice, because there’s nothing else around.”
The next time that you’re heading down East Delavan, keep an eye open for Maasai. It’s a lot of fun to browse, and the owners will make you feel like you’ve come home. This is the perfect place to stop to find a unique gift while supporting local!
Originally, there was only one Buffalo musicians union, Local 43. This all white Local which was part of the American Federation of Musicians, which refused to include African American musicians. As a result, a separate union, Buffalo Local 533 was formed on February 3, 1917. Buffalo then became the eighth city in the United States, since the 1896 founding of the American Federation of Musicians, with racially segregated musician’s local unions. A year after Local 533 was formed, a close knit group of people independent from the Association but comprised of it’s members, formed a social club where, according to charter member and retired President of Local 533, Dr. Raymond E. Jackson, “the musicians used to hang out after they finished their jobs at night. You could get a trotter-a plate of pork, a pig foot, a plate of beans and a bottle of beer – for 25 cents. On Sundays, musicians would utilize the club for band rehearsals, taking advantage of the free space and the piano it provided.” (Davis)
Before the Colored Musicians Club found its permanent home at 145 Broadway in 1934, it was housed in other locations. These residences included the union headquarters on Michigan Avenue, then 96 Clinton at the corner of Oak Street, and the Masonic Temple at 168 Clinton Street. When the Colored Musicians Club moved into the property at 145 Broadway it was merely a vacant storefront. The actual building had been constructed between 1880 and 1900 and it initially housed the shop of boot and shoemaker Charles Zifle, then Michael McNamara’s cigar and tobacco stand, a billiards parlor, several union locals and Niagara China and Equipment Company. (Davis)
The existence of the club provided Buffalo with an attractive, static location where many of the jazz greats could stop in and “show their chops.” This enabled interaction of Buffalo residents with prominent and prestigious African American musicians which, in turn, provided hope for many that the goals of economic betterment and social acceptance weren’t out of reach.
They offer performances at Colored Musicians Club and have an ongoing jazz series. In addition there is also a jazz museum we highly recommend checking out. If you are interested in Buffalo History, you absolutely must visit the Colored Musicians Club!
Chef Nikki began her journey into the world of veganism after a 21 day detox a couple years ago and it set her on a path of discovery where being active and having better eating habits can add years to your life. By exploring the major effects diet can have on mind, body and spirit, her first step of vegan-based commitment was through all natural juicing and flavorful cooking of alternative plant-based products and produce. This combined with her travels and exploration of diverse food cultures led Chef Nikki from home-based experiments to growing recipes and clientele willing to see the once-distant light of veganism as a realistic lifestyle possibility.
Chef Nikki has created a community based establishment focused on making plant-based food accessible for all! Sunshine Vegan Eats is a place where the food is amazing regardless of whether or not you are a vegan. We visited Sunshine Vegan Eats and weren’t disappointed. While you are doing your holiday shopping, we highly recommend stopping at Sunshine Vegan Eats! They also offer packages for holiday meals, which will save you some time in the kitchen!
Have you picked up your Shop 716 eGift Card yet? For a limited time, when you buy one for $25 or more, you get an Erie County sponsored bonus $25 eGift Card. Support local and get rewarded for it – buy yours today and view the full list of participating businesses here: https://amherst.org/shop716/
Support your local restaurants, retailers and attractions. Keep your hard earned money, right here where you live. By doing so, you keep your friends and family employed and create more local jobs. Shopping local conserves energy and resources and is better for the environment!
WNY is our home & we can show the #Buffalove we have by shopping and supporting our local businesses. The Shop 716 initiative is to be a champion of all business, supporting the shop/support local themes; to develop business unity and camaraderie to uplift our entire region.