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The Evolution of Two Guys Good Buys

It was back in 2016, when I first posted on a vintage pop-up shop on Elmwood Avenue, at what was then Ashker’s. At the time, the idea of a pop-up experience was relatively new, so I was pretty excited to meet the operators of Two Guys Good Buys – Frank Fina and Tyler Annalora.

Over the years, I’ve been keeping tabs with Frank and Tyler, per their various pursuits. From vending their vintage wares at The Peddler Flea Market on Elmwood, to participating in various pop-ups around town, it’s been fun to see their business concept evolve and refine. According to Frank, their focus is now on 1930s – 1980s American workwear and heritage brands.

I find it interesting that part of the Two Guys Good Buys evolution is driven by an era when a lot more people are getting involved with buying and selling vintage wares. For many years, it seemed as if vintage goods were falling out of favor, but now, with the planet in turmoil (and the pandemic upon us), it looks as if people are putting things into perspective. Instead of purchasing everything new (and cheap) from places like China, a lot of people are placing an emphasis on seeking out vintage furniture and clothing that has stood the test of time. And that’s exactly what drives Frank and Tyler to pursue older garments, denim, work clothes, and all sorts of Americana.

What started off as sourcing their goods mainly regionally, took a turn when Frank and Tyler began traveling the country in a van, stopping at antique shops along the way. In fact, they spent a good two years on the road, building up their merchandise, and selling whenever and wherever they could. Along the way, they found that they were able to better curate their lines. Ultimately, their Two Guys Good Buys Instagram account became more of a travel log, which is when they launched another account called Save The Rags with the sole purpose of promoting their vintage merchandise.

Their story took another turn when they met up with a kindred spirit by the name of Matt Bernhardt while in California in 2016. At the time, Matt (originally from Indiana) was living out of van and working as a substitute teacher. It wasn’t long before Matt became enamored with the idea of thrifting for a living, as he came to see firsthand Frank and Tyler’s penchant for the craft. Soon after, Matt joined together with the duo, and began to contribute towards the mobile sourcing and selling lifestyle.

“Matt originally went out to California to explore the parks,” said Frank. “He was always into antiquing, but he started picking up vintage clothes. He would sit with us at the markets when we were selling. When Tyler and I came back to Buffalo, we found that Matt was able to bring a great deal to the table, because he was sourcing so much in California. Eventually, he became so good at it, and we all became such good friends, that he decided to move to Buffalo.”

With Matt firmly a part of the Two Guys Good Buys and Save The Rags lifestyle, they decided that Buffalo was ready for more of a retail operation. At first, they operated out of a small shop in Riverside, but eventually they opted to sublease a more high profile space on Elmwood Avenue, from Wabi-Sabi for Two (an upcycled vintage furniture outfit).

Upon a recent visit to Two Guys Good Buys (and Save The Rags) temporary headquarters at 812 Elmwood Avenue (between Overwinter Coffee and Taste of Siam), I was struck by the caliber of vintage merchandise that the three amigos had been able to get their hands on. We’re not talking about your everyday thrifty shop here – we’re talking about something that Robert Redford (Sundance) would put his stamp of approval on. From luxurious Hudson Bay coats to Ralph Lauren-style shirts and jackets, there are some really fine wearables on display.

Now that Frank, Tyler, and Matt are at the helm of this vintage clothing outlet, Buffalo is the beneficiary, there is no doubt. The three have managed to take their pursuits to another level entirely. Frank and Tyler are now selling their wares at esteemed shows such as Brimfield, while Matt continues to make trips to California. Matt’s fiancé – a flight attendant – also moved to Buffalo. The couple recently fixed up an old bus – beautifully converted, complete with a wood burning stove. Obviously, all four of these fast friends have found a future together, based on the art of resourceful adventure travel.

“Matt and his fiancé have embraced Buffalo, just as Tyler and I always have,” Frank told me. “Matt decided that he wanted to be a part of what we were doing, and now he’s involved with the store. It’s such a cool story. Before all of this, we were all working full time jobs. This has opened our eyes to see what is possible. We get to travel to source and sell our goods. We get to take part in something that is unique and authentic. And we get to do it all based from the city that we love.”

Down the road, Frank, Tyler, and Matt will be looking to find an even bigger showroom somewhere in Buffalo. In the meantime, do yourself a favor and stop into this remarkable vintage clothing emporium that is like nothing else in the region. And while you’re there, be sure to poke around Wabi-Sabi (in the back) – it’s a fascinating little building, full of surprises.


Two Guys Good Buys | Since 2013

812 Elmwood Avenue | Across from The Lexington Co-op

Wed-Fri 3-7pm | Sat – Sun 10-4pm

TGGB on Instagram | Save The Rags on Instagram

Lead image: (L-R) Tyler, Frank, Matt


Following images by photographer Jeremy Gonzales

Written by queenseyes

queenseyes

Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer | Newell@BuffaloRising.com

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