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Buffalo’s boutique revival

Shops that need to be on your radar

Shops at HarborCenter

Photos above by Bill Wippert


Buffalo’s known for a lot of things, but—our fashion and shopping scene? Not so much. I’ll never forget when I was interviewed by Vice Magazine about fashion in Buffalo and I almost fell off my chair when I saw the article’s title, “Does Buffalo Really Dress Like S***?”. How do we move beyond this? Lord knows I’ve spent the last ten years trying to turn around people’s perceptions.


Well, a small army of incredible small business owners are fighting the good fight. We’ve seen a major uptick in the number of new, interesting retail destinations in the city and surrounding suburbs. Our boutiques are multiplying and some are seeing double, with the opening of second locations. 


And, for the first time in decades, we have retail downtown.


Buffalove has a whole new meaning for those who have been working in the heart of downtown Buffalo. For decades, downtown workers were not able to shop on their lunch break or after work, and were forced to leave the city and spend their hard earned money elsewhere. Don't get me wrong, we still have a long way to go but this is the spark, and it only takes a few to start a fire.


Picture this scenario as a great way to spend a winter’s day in the city: you hop on the subway and head downtown to the end of the line. Canalside is alive; everyone’s bundled up, drinking hot cocoa, ice-skating at the outdoor rink, and taking selfies with Sharkgirl. And now, thanks to the Pegulas, we have the Shops at HarborCenter, featuring Modern Nostalgia, Clayton’s Toy Store, Fowler’s Chocolates, and newcomer Red Siren. You just got a cozy feeling, right? The city is alive, and the only thing it requires is your participation.


Buffalo Adore and Rust Belt Love in the Market Arcade building, Lace & Day on Franklin.



In addition to shopping on our waterfront, Main Street welcomes some businesses that are Instagram-worthy. Take a stroll through the historic and architecturally jewel-like Market Arcade building and visit Buffalo Adore, Sai One, Rust Belt Love, Buffalo Floral Art, White Dog VintageMain Street Events, and Sasmita Batik Indonesia. Hop across the street and check out the brainchild of Joe Incao, former VP of Retail Operations for Prada USA. Incao created Furnishings, a luxury experience paired with affordable pricing, in the former L.L Berger Department Store.


Bouncing from neighborhood to neighborhood, Allentown is bringing sexy back. I’m all about the off the beaten path adventures. Franklin Street has never looked better, with the addition of Lace & Day. In the words of Regina Brett, “Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, and wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.” I’d have to agree.


Inside Furnishings.



Good things come in pairs. Along with our city’s resurgence, a handful of boutiques are starting to open second locations. Prepare yourself for a double dose of love and head to Second Chic ’s newest location in Williamsville, Blush in Orchard Park, Modern Nostalgia in HarborCenter, Research & Design  (aka Bluebirds and Sunshine) in the Walden Galleria, and Anna Grace’s latest creation Fern + Arrow.


It’s hard to believe that it’s already time to start holiday shopping. I encourage you to tell your friends, family, coworkers and beyond about the positive change in our city and its shopping culture. Because it takes a village, a community, and a city, united as One Buffalo, to shop local.


Erin Habes is a regular style contributor and directs fashion shoots for Spree.

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