Photos by kc kratt
To see the full list at a glance, click here.
Half & Half, winner of Best New Clothing Boutique
Best New Small Retail Business (Open In 2016 Or Later)
Fred Handmade Wares
385 Franklin St., Buffalo; 550-1492 or fredhandmadewares.com
This cool corner shop is located on the corner of Franklin and Edward, hence the abbreviated name FRED. Its mission is to connect independent creators and artists with an outlet to showcase their goods. Etsy lovers can shop here for local and national handmade wares. Fred also sells pour-over coffee, which makes for excellent browsing fuel.
Best New Clothing Boutique
Half & Half
1088 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 239-1652 or Facebook/Half & Half
Half and Half has a fresh look and youthful new energy thanks to the mother daughter team of Jennifer and Kilby Bronstein. Taking the torch from long-time owners Debbie and Bill Sidel, Jen and Kilby have put their own mark on the Elmwood staple by expanding the women’s offerings and adding men’s clothing and housewares.
5350 Main St., Williamsville; 626-7000 or Facebook/RuthAnn Boutique
This bright and elegant new shopping magnet brings the fun and the names—including Greylin, n:philanthropy, Elizabeth and James, Steve Madden, Black Orchid, and many more.
Best Shop For Jeans
Tony Walker & Co
5110 Main St., Williamsville; 626-3280 or tonywalker.com
Jeans are one of those items where brand can be important, and that's why we reccommend a trip to Tony Walker for one of the best selections of high-end jeans brands within 200 miles. The sales staff is knowledgeable and can help you find the right fit according to what you are looking for and your body type. There are three-way mirrors, and even cameras, so you can see what everyone else will see when you hit the street in those new blues.
Best Clothing Boutique (Established)
3959 Main St., Amherst; 833-7000 or annarlette.com
Jaded shoppers who’ve given up on finding truly exciting fashion choices should put AnnArlette at the top of their lists. The well-appointed store is bright, fun, and sophisticated. Put away the black uniforms and peruse the colorful choices at AnnArlette.
Best Shop For Formal Wear (Men's)
6815 Main St., Buffalo; 568-1910 or shopnapolis.com
Napoli’s is a cult classic among menswear aficionados. Founded in 1972 by the Napoli family, this shop has been providing great style and customer service to dapper Buffalo men for decades. It just recently moved into a beautiful new building on Main Street, filled with premium brands, footwear, and accessories.
Best Men’s Boutique
Riverside Men's Shop
6470 Transit Rd., Depew; 833-8401 or riversidemens.com
This classic and beloved shop has changed locations over the years, but it hasn't changed its reliable, reasonably priced selection of everything men need, including Buffalo-themed items, suits, jackets, shirts, hats, ties, and more.
Best Shop For Women’s Party Wear
3099 Sheridan Dr., Amherst; 831-0773 or mabeldanahy.com
Danahy’s knows fashion. This truly historic Buffalo boutique (founded in 1925) continues to deliver an eclectic mix of casualwear and formalwear, featuring designers such as Eileen Fisher, Lafayette 148, Elie Tahari, and Teri Jon.
Best Shop For Handmade Jewelry
Vania & David
1007 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 480-6021 or vaniaanddavid.com
Vania Leticia Escauriza Gagliardone is a Buffalo-based jewelry designer with roots in Paraguay. Her vibrant personality radiates throughout her work and her adorable shop on Elmwood Avenue, co-owned with husband David. Vania works with natural stones and luxe metals to create bold statement pieces. Her work can be seen in the pages of fashion magazines and on the necks, ears, and arms of celebrities worldwide.
Best Shop For Traditional Jewelry
4567 Main St., Buffalo; 839-4060 or scherersjewelers.com
This family-owned business has been bringing Buffalo high quality jewelry, jewelry design, diamonds, engagement rings, gemstones and Swiss watches for 110 years and five generations. Its customer service lives up to its pedigree.
Best Shop For Funky Accessories
MMW Style Studio
403 Main St., Buffalo; 812-0937 or mmwstylestudio.com
Trendy fashionistas flock to MMW Style Studio, located in Lafayette Square. Whether your style is fun, fierce, or funky, this boutique with New York City flare carries the latest trends in women’s clothing, jewelry, and accessories.
Mischler’s, winner of Best Flower Shop (Suburbs)
Best Shop For Furniture
732 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 240-9387 or rohomeshop.com
Ro is named after the Old Norse word for “peaceful, calm, tranquil,” and owner/artist Hayley Carrow-Janecki clearly embodies this philosophy. The store’s décor and stock are based on a concept of calm living through functional design. In addition to a curated selection of soft goods, ceramics, and art for the home, look for furniture designed and produced locally, by Norman Cramer, and from the Toronto-based Gus* Modern line.
3875 Sheridan Dr., Amherst; 839-4484 or ethanallen.com
Solve your furnishing dilemmas the easy way. Worried that a gorgeous sofa will be too big for the space? Feeling absolutely clueless about how a room should look? Ethan Allen associates can make house calls, measure rooms, create entire house plans, and much more—at no charge. Ethan Allen has a beautiful selection of items, sure, but—even more important—it removes the anxiety from furniture shopping.
Best Shop For Vintage Furniture
111 Tonawanda St., Buffalo; 432-6216 or coocoou27.com
Persistency has paid off for CooCooU owner Michael Merisola. After opening in 1987 on Elmwood and Allen, the store has had several addresses, most notably (and for the longest period of time), on Hertel Avenue. Now at 111 Tonawanda Street, the lofty showroom totals 5,000 square feet with an additional 7,000 square feet of storage. Known as the place to go to buy and sell mid-century modern furniture, CooCooU also carries art deco and industrial design furnishings, vintage musical instruments, art, and sculpture. If you’re looking for eclectic and unusual wares this is the spot, and its website allows for easy shopping with shipping worldwide.
Best Interior Design
Tres Jolie Mason
249-7330 or tjminteriordesign.com
This husband-and-wife team is showing its staying power, continuing to wow clients in Buffalo; Naples, Florda; Toronto, and beyond.
Best Shop For Home Decor
5688 Main St., Williamsville; 626-3282 or tesorihome.com
Tesori means “treasures” in Italian and this eclectic home décor store lives up to its name. It’s filled with antiques, accessories, handcrafted furniture, lighting, artwork, and many one-of-a-kind finds. Tesori offers everything from funky pillows to perfect end tables. Follow them on Facebook to see their latest treasures.
Best Thrift Shop
Serendipity Thrift Shoppe
1 Symphony Circle, Buffalo; 248-0232 or buffaloserendipityshoppe.com
This charming secondhand shop is filled with vintage and contemporary items at all price points. Offerings include costume jewelry, fine glassware, books, artwork, furniture, and more. Proceeds benefit the Buffalo AIDS Plus Fund of WNY.
Best Shop For Unique Gifts
Fern & Arrow
773 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 882-5858 or @fernandarrowshop
Owner Joanne Dina Scherer has been at the helm of cult favorite Anna Grace for over a decade, which is impressive longevity for an indie boutique in Buffalo. When Positively Main Street (an Elmwood Village classic) retired, Joanne took over the space and remodeled it to create Fern and Arrow, featuring handcrafted and well-edited goods for both men and women. It’s the perfect place to find gifts for special someones, cute greeting cards, and (cool) Buffalo themed items.
Best Shop For Men’s Gifts
565 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 836-6464 or solemanbuffalo.com
Sole Man is a men’s accessories and shoe store that keeps the old-school shoe shop tradition alive. Owner Brian Gavigan is a wizard when it comes to shoe repair and has an excellent selection of designer goods, including hats, belts, and coats, as well as shoes. Everything is carefully selected, with a nod to traditional menswear shop nostalgia. He even has some original display units and signs from Buffalo’s department store history. If there’s such a thing as a modern cobbler shop, Sole Man is it.
Best Shop For Women’s Gifts
Multiple locations; shopblushny.com
This on-point boutique began as a clothing website in 2010: the Elmwood Village location opened in 2013. Each store offers essential wardrobe items, accessories, and handbags. Shoppers will also find a pleasant and helpful shopping experience: previews of what's in store may be seen on Blush's neatly organized website.
Best Sporting/Outdoor Life Store
Spoke & Dagger Co.
1434 Hertel Ave., Buffalo; 616-0777 or spokeanddaggerco.com
Here’s a shop for those who love to hit the open road. Spoke & Dagger Co. is a motorcycle apparel, accessories, parts, and gear shop aimed at the “cool” rider, builder, and motorcycle enthusiast. Customers love the shop’s West Coast vibe. If you’re a rad babe or gent who enjoys long rides, head to Spoke & Dagger for your badass gear.
Best Baby Gifts
1400 Hertel Ave., Buffalo; 939-2692 or room-buffalo.com
Why shouldn't a baby's room be stylish, even cool? The selection at Babyroom ensures that the other shower attendees will actually look at your gift and that your favorite new mom will treasure it.
Best Place For Organic Food
807 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 886-2667 or Lexington.coop
In addition to its wide array of organic foods, locally grown produce, meats, and eggs, the co-op also carries organic fair trade teas and coffees (boxed and bulk). The food displays are always artful, the staff is knowledgeable, and this is a place to run into friends—so try not to be in too much of a hurry. There are organic health and beauty products and the prepared foods (salad bar, steam tables, and grab & go aisle) also feature organic items daily. A much-anticipated second location, on Hertel Avenue, opens later this year.
Best Small Garden Store
428 Rhode Island St., Buffalo; 362-8982 or urbanroots.org
Urban Roots Community Garden Center has been growing strong since 2004. A colorful oasis of flora and accessories, Urban Roots has an excellent selection of perennials and annuals, shrubs, and trees, given its size. There is plenty of room in the large lot behind the store to browse, plot, and plan. Urban Roots is also known for its heirloom seedlings. Helpful staff are always available and the store is involved with its neighborhood via educational programs and improvement projects.
Best Big Garden Store
Lockwood's Garden Center
4484 Clark St., Hamburg; 649-4684 or weknowplants.com
Arguably the healthiest and most well-selected stock of perennials and annuals can be found here; Lockwood's quickly discovers new, high-performance plants and makes them available to customers, along with knowledgable explanations of which plants work best in which types of gardens. This is also the best place for native plants, new hydrangea cultivars, succulents, and other specialty plants.
Best Flower Shop (City)
291 Bryant St., Buffalo; 445-3389 or ferncroftfloral.com
Fern Croft focuses on the subtlety possible in floral design. Whether it’s a few stems in a vase or an elaborate centerpiece, owner Erin Lalley Bauer brings an new esthetic to the Elmwood Village. The shop also offers classes and is a must follow on Instagram at @fern_croft.
Best Flower Shop (Suburbs)
118 S. Forest Rd., Williamsville; 632-1290 or mischlersflorist.com
For over seventy years, Mischler's has done double duty as a florist and garden center for its community. Floral designers can work from online selections or create custom arrangments that can be delivered that day. It's a charming venue to browse during any season, especially for its huge selection of poinsettias in winter and geraniums in late spring.
Most Environmentally Conscious Retail Business
980 Northampton St., Buffalo; 894-3366 or reuseaction.com
Neighborhood-based and community-focused, ReUse Action (“Restore. Reclaim. Renew.”) offers green home demolition, gutting, salvage, consulting and cleanouts. In addition, the far East Side “social enterprise” emphasizes sustainability—weekly offerings in their retail store may include insulation, lumber, barn wood, flooring and siding, plus new and reclaimed doors, windows, tubs, sinks, lighting, and trim. They also offer training and employment to young people, spreading their mission of putting both materials and people back to work in the community.
Talking Leaves, winner of Best Customer Service
Best Customer Service
951 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 884-9524 or tleavesbooks.com
Buffalo's oldest independent bookstore was founded in 1971 by a small cooperative of University at Buffalo graduate students. It's now co-owned by husband and wife team Martha Russell and Jonathon Welch, who regularly bring nationally known authors to Buffalo for readings and book signings. The Elmwood store is a browser's dream; in addition to its well-stocked shelves of books, there's an eclectic magazine selection and Aroma cafe is right next door. Friendly, knowledgeable associates are ready to wrap books, take orders, and provide intelligent discussion of selections.
Multiple locations or deltasoniccarwash.com
Car upkeep is nobody’s favorite thing, but Delta Sonic makes it easy. The technicians here cheerfully pull off inspection, car washing, detailing, and other services quickly and efficiently. The waiting rooms are clean and pleasant and there are always places to get refreshments and reading material nearby.
Best Place For Wine Tasting
City Wine Merchant
715 Main St., Buffalo; 931-9114 or citywinemerchant..com
Tastings here are not the usual mixed-bag of bottles distributors happen to have on hand. In fact, some tastings are so specific and feature wines of such rarity that they need to be by invitation only. Other times, the store offers its own curated selection that it would love customers to try. Get on CWM's email list if you want to fall in love with wines you've never heard of.
Best Big Liquor/Wine Store
Gates Circle liquor
1430 Delaware Ave., Buffalo; 884-1346 or gatescircleliquor.com
One of the city's busiest places to shop for adult liquid refreshments, Gates takes online orders and offers complimentary delivery throughout Buffalo for orders of $75 or more. For deliveries under $75, $5 gets your bottles there. The staff is rarely stumped by questions about the stock and freely offers advice on wine pairings. At holiday time, Gates has gift packs displayed prominently, as well as champagne selections. The store features regular Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening tastings and the store's website (gatescircleliquor.com/blog) will tell you who–and what–will be pouring. The site also features interesting alcohol-related informational tidbits such as "Will absinthe make me hallucinate?" Gates also has wine and scotch subscription clubs with special deliveries left on your doorstep monthly.
Paradise, winner of Best Boutique Wine/Liquor Store
Best Boutique Wine/Liquor Store
435 Rhode Island St., Buffalo; 322.5396 or paradisewinebuffalo.com
The reasons to venture west to Paradise are many: co-owner Paula Paradise’s obvious enthusiasm about the shop, the stock, and the very existence of wine is uppermost. The self-dubbed “wine nerd in residence” speaks about her wares in direct yet almost poetic language that quickly eases customers’ minds. She also tries to keep her approachable array of small-batch wines, all either sustainably, organically, or biodynamically produced, at around the $10–20 mark.
Most Fun Place to Shop
When the panels of experts met and the tallies from our Best Of poll were counted, it was amazing to see how many popular and praised retail businesses are located on Hertel Avenue. Five years ago, Elmwood would have been at the top of anyone's list of great shopping spots. No longer.
Best Pet-Related Business
1448 Hertel Ave., Buffalo; 998-1257 or buffalopetstore.com
Here’s a place to mingle, sniff, chat and then sniff some more. Daisy’s Doghouse isn’t for humans; it’s for precious pooches or fantastic felines. The top-of-the-line pet store is stocked with everything from holistic food to stylish collars to unique toys.
Best Fitness Classes
Long and Lean Pilates
515 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo; 881-2057 or longandleanpilates.com
This dynamic workout is available at two beautiful locations—on the corner of Elmwood/West Utica and in Amherst at Hive. The individually designed programs give your body the attention it needs to meet your goals. Though based in pilates, Long and Lean also provides massage, stretching, strength training, and yoga techniques.
Best Dance Classes
With regular Sunday lessons at their headquarters and frequent salsa nights at locations all over WNY, including Gypsy Parlor, and Larkin Square, Baila makes it easy to get your salsa on. Cofounders and award-winners Calvin Rice and Fanny Olaya have been dancing together for almost ten years.
Love in Motion
1250 Niagara St., Buffalo; 262-8145 or loveinmotionyoga.com
Love In Motion Yoga may be the new kid on the yoga block, but the experience of its owners and their style of practice, along with the spacious studio’s loft-like setting made it our top-pick this year. Owners Kate Rogers and Kathleen Englehardt have over twenty-four years of combined yoga experience. They, along with seven other instructors, lead vinyasa-style classes with an emphasis on posture alignment and sequencing in an environment that is inclusive, warm, and welcoming. Students will find classes from beginner level to slow-moving classes for restoration, as well as advanced classes for a more challenging practice. Rogers and Englehardt appreciate their new community on Niagara Street, and demonstrate their gratitude by offering donation-based classes on Friday evenings, with proceeds donated to a charity of the month.
Best Cycle Shop
744 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 881-3613 or campuswheelworks.com
Campus Wheelworks has been an Elmwood staple and a cyclist’s destination since 1996. In addition to bike rentals, sales, and service, Campus excels at community events for cycling enthusiasts. Last year alone, it held over 120 cycling events, each beginning and ending at the shop on Elmwood. Choices include a “Be Chatty” leisurely ride, a “Be Sweaty” faster ride, and a “Be to A” ride that includes instruction and training. In the off season, Campus rents and sells snow shoes and cross-country skiis while organizing snow-related events to get people outside in winter.
Best Tattoo Shop
6th Order Tattoo
3503 Genesee St., Cheektowaga; 633-7171 or 6thorder.com
“A no-drama, unintimidating, easy place to be.” That’s how owner Chris Coppola describes 6th Order Tattoo, which offers all forms of tattoo artistry, ranging from traditional motifs to realism to Japanese designs. The space is pristine, and 6th Order is proud to say it’s one of the few shops in the area with private rooms, so that the tattoo experience remains between artist and client.
Best New Small Retail Business (Open In 2016 Or Later) Fred Handmade Wares fredhandmadewares.com
Best New Clothing Boutique TIE Half & Half Facebook/Half & Half; RuthAnn Boutique Facebook/RuthAnn Boutique
Best Shop For Jeans Tony Walker & Co tonywalker.com
Best Clothing Boutique (Established) AnnArlette annarlette.com
Best Shop For Formal Wear (Men's) Napoli’s shopnapolis.com
Best Men’s Boutique Riverside Men's Shop riversidemens.com
Best Shop For Women’s Party Wear Danahy’s mabeldanahy.com
Best Shop For Handmade Jewelry Vania & David vaniaanddavid.com
Best Shop For Traditional Jewelry Scherer's scherersjewelers.com
Best Shop For Funky Accessories MMW Style Studio mmwstylestudio.com
Best Shop For Vintage Furniture CooCooU coocoou27.com
Best Interior Design Tres Jolie Mason tjminteriordesign.com
Best Shop For Home Decor Tesori tesorihome.com
Best Thrift Shop Serendipity Thrift Shoppe buffaloserendipityshoppe.com
Best Shop For Unique Gifts Fern & Arrow @fernandarrowshop
Best Shop For Men’s Gifts Sole Man solemanbuffalo.com
Best Shop For Women’s Gifts Blush shopblushny.com
Best Sporting/Outdoor Life Store Spoke & Dagger Co. spokeanddaggerco.com
Best Baby Gifts Babyroom room-buffalo.com
Best Place For Organic Food Lexington Co-op Lexington.coop
Best Small Garden Store Urban Roots urbanroots.org
Best Big Garden Store Lockwood's Garden Center weknowplants.com
Best Flower Shop (City) Fern Croft ferncroftfloral.com
Best Flower Shop (Suburbs) Mischler’s mischlersflorist.com
Most Environmentally Conscious Retail Business Reuse Action reuseaction.com
Best Place For Wine Tasting City Wine Merchant citywinemerchant..com
Best Big Liquor/Wine Store Gates Circle liquor gatescircleliquor.com
Best Boutique Wine/Liquor Store Paradise Wine paradisewinebuffalo.com
Most Fun Place to Shop Hertel Avenue
Best Pet-Related Business Daisy’s Doghouse buffalopetstore.com
Best Fitness Classes Long and Lean Pilates longandleanpilates.com
Best Dance Classes Baila Salsa salsabuffalo.com
Best Yoga Love in Motion loveinmotionyoga.com
Best Cycle Shop Campus Wheelworks campuswheelworks.com
Best Tattoo Shop 6th Order Tattoo 6thorder.com
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