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Best new small retail business
(Open in 2015 or later)
500 Main St., Buffalo; 381-8275 or furnishingsbflo.com
Here’s a great reason to take a drive down Main Street, now that you can. This deceptively small shop is filled with unusual wares—so much so that you’ll want to allow plenty of time to explore. Our favorites: the nifty pillows and lamps, the funky bar and coffee goods, and the space given to other local vendors.
Best new clothing boutique
3959 Main St., Snyder; 833-7000 or facebook.com/ANNARLETTE
Spree style editor Erin Habes calls this new shop the “Barneys of Buffalo,” and the word on the street is that this is the place for trendy but classic pieces that you’ll wear forever.
PHOTO: KC KRATT
Best clothing boutique (Established)
799 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 332-7069 or annagracebuffalo.tumblr.com
This Elmwood Village mainstay carries both independent designers and larger established brands. There are also plenty of goodies to complete your new outfit, including jewelry, scarves, and more.
Best shop for formal wear (Men’s)
Riverside Men’s Shop
3063 Sheridan Dr., Amherst; 833-8401 or riversidemens.com
It may have been in business for ninety-seven years, but RMS doesn’t take anything for granted. All the premier brands are here, along with free tailoring and alteration services.
Best shop for formal wear (Women’s)
3099 Sheridan Drive, Amherst; 831-0773 or mabeldanahy.com
The goods may be high end, but the atmosphere is friendly and comfortable at this boutique. Danahy’s has been in business for ninety years. It's done it by keeping up with fashions, but never abandoning good old-fashioned great service. Danahy's formal department ranges from comfortable pant-based outfits to the ultimate in full-length glam.
Best shop for handmade jewelry
Burchfield Penney Museum Store
1300 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 878-6011 or burchfieldpenney.org
The store, curated with designs by a wide range of artists from Western New York, is filled with eye, neck, wrist, and ear candy. Many of the styles, as befits the institution’s namesake, feature organic shapes and nature-inspired themes. Both the fashion-forward and the demure will find plenty to love, from dangly drops, delicate necklaces, and sparkly baubles to chunky and industrial-inspired metallic pieces.
Best shop for traditional jewelry
798 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 217-2270 or abrahamsjewelersbuffalo.com
Opened in 1982, Abraham's specializes equally in traditional and contemporary pieces. The shop is also an authorized dealer for upscale watch brands like Bulova and Wittnauer. Repairs of watches and jewelry are done onsite, and you can also sell your jewelry or have an old-fashioned piece reworked here.
Best shop for funky accessories
1005 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, 768-0110; 4218 N. Buffalo Rd., Orchard Park, 508-8679 or shopblushny.com
Fun can still be fashionable, as you’ll learn when you peruse the wide selection of finishing touches available at this local favorite.
Best shop for unique gifts
Fern and Arrow
773 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 882-5858 or facebook.com/fernandarrowshop/
In a seamless and friendly transition (the new store helped the old store sell off its stock), Positively Main Street closed and Fern + Arrow opened. Just like its predecessor, this a fun and funky place to buy housewares, gifts, and more. The prices are reasonable and the ambiance is bright and airy.
Best shop for men’s gifts
1595 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 249-1122 or blacksquirreldistillery.com
While a gift of a bottle or two of maple-distilled spirits from here would be great, it’s also possible to schedule a cocktail party at Black Squirrel—for a very reasonable price. Forget the tie; go for the Mapleshine.
Best shop for women’s gifts
Renew Bath and Body
927 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 881-0177 or renewbathandbody.com
Forgo the chemicals and additives found in drugstore products; for better lotions and a better shopping experience, Renew is the place. There are several all-natural lines you’ll never find anywhere else. The staff is very helpful for gift recommendations.
Best shop for furniture
3875 Sheridan Dr., Amherst; 8394484 or ethanallen.com
From wall sconces to beddings to a complete living room, Ethan Allen makes perfect possible. The store is laid out in such a way that it’s easy to see how a certain look and flow can be created. There are also touch screens and in-person design services—all part of the service.
Best shop for vintage furniture
27 Chandler St., Buffalo; 432-6216 or coocoou27.com
3807 Harlem Rd., Cheektowaga; 424-0994 or adornmentbuffalo.com
Antique-to-modernist pieces fill every square foot of this space, but the finely crafted mid-century furnishings are the main draw. There are also classic tools, toys, church furnishings, and more. This is ground central for fans of modernist design.
Unique in many ways, Adornment refurbishes and refinishes old furniture and cabinets, in addition to other services. It also donates part of its proceeds to nonprofits that help young women.
Best interior design
Tres Jolie Maison
414 Virginia St., Buffalo; 249-7330 or tjminteriordesign.com
A relative newcomer to Buffalo’s design scene, Tres Jolie made an immediate splash with its renovations to Buffalo’s oldest house, which is its local headquarters, and with its innovative design for the 2014 Junior League Show House. The firm provides both commercial and residential design and also has offices in Naples and Miami.
Best shop for home decor
732 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 240 9387 or rohomeshop.com
Both new Danish-inspired furniture and home décor as well as objects made out of reclaimed materials are sold at this popular Elmwood shop. Here’s where you’ll find the simple and functional designs beloved to so many local homeowners.
Best thrift shop
Multiple locations; savers.com
Many local thrift stores provide important support for nonprofits, so we also give nods to Amvets, Salvation Army, and St. Vincent DePaul’s in this category. Savers, however, is interesting, because it helps a variety of charitable organizations and has a philosophy centered in recycling and reuse. Because of those elements of its mission, Savers is one of the very few chains we ever recognize in Best of.
Best sporting/outdoor life store
744 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 881-3613 or campuswheelworks.com
So much more than a bike shop, this Elmwood Village anchor has worked hard to create a community. It's even got an active cycling collective that dates back to the 1970s. Got a bike you want to tune up? This is your go-to. Thinking of expanding or beginning your foray into cycling, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing? CW will get you geared up.
PHOTO: jp thimot
Best place for organic food
Lexington Co-operative market
807 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 886-2667 or Lexington.coop
Organic food is not relegated to a small section of square footage at Lexington Cooperative Market; it is in large part the raison d’etre for this much-beloved community-owned business. Local produce; organic meat, poultry, and fish; sustainable health and household supplies; popular organic packaged food brands, and a large prepared food section of fresh salads, soups, and entrees dominate the offerings here.
Best small garden store
Urban Roots community garden center
428 Rhode Island St., Buffalo; 362-8982 or urbanroots.org
This cooperative is one of only two non-big-box, all-garden stores in the city. Staff members are knowledgeable, pottery and tools are of high quality, and there is an excellent selection of native perennials, trees, and shrubs, as well as the usual perennials and annuals. Urban Roots was the first local garden center to offer heirloom tomato seedlings. UR also hosts seasonal gardening workshops and sends regular updates via their enewsletters.
Best big garden store
5799 Genesee St., Lancaster; 683-4885 or adamsnurseries.com
310 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst; 693-4444
Lockwood’s Garden Center
4484 Clark St., Hamburg; 649-4684 or weknowplants.com
Do Western New Yorkers realize how blessed they are in terms of independent garden centers and nurseries, many of which regularly grow their own plants? We are awarding just three excellent venues this year; if truth were told, we could add at least four more to this list. Visit any one of these three and rest assured that you will find rare varietals, healthy shrubs and trees, high-quality supplies, and expert help.
PHOTO: KC KRATT
Best flower shop
949-0033 or petrichorflora.com
Maureen's buffalo wholesale market
441 Ellicott St., Buffalo; 852-4600 or maureensbuffalowholesale.com
One of Buffalo’s newest and most innovative businesses, Petrichor combines a specialized flower design service and a seasonal flower cart, called Beau Flors, that can be seen at farmers’ markets and other places where people gather during the warm months. Recently, Petrichor has started offering bouquets at Ashker’s.
For years, Maureen's has been the place to go to find exotic and unusual flowers as well as everyday favorites. Stop in any day and see the staff pulling together specialty orders for events taking place all over the region.
PHOTO: KC KRATT
830 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 259-8141 or bureaumade.com
Custommade suits used to be one-percenter affairs, involving flights to London or New York and many thousands of dollars. Increasingly, however, average Buffalonians are finding their way to Bureau for above-average suiting. Everything here is designed from the ground up.
Best baby gifts
5520 Main St., Williamsville; 632-2246 or pumpkinschildrensclothing.com
The baby boutique here offers exquisite, adorable choices for ages from preemie to twenty-four months. Pumpkins has long been a go-to in an area where there are few independent retail choices.
PHOTO: KC KRATT
Most environmentally conscious retail business
296 East Ferry St., Buffalo; 578-3782 or buffaloreuse.org
Before spending a fortune at Restoration Hardware, check Buffalo ReUse. The aisles and shelves here are filled with authentic vintage cabinets, mantels, door knobs, doors, hinges, fixtures, and much more. Outside, there is stone and brick and other supplies that are perfect for patios and other home enhancement projects. Buffalo ReUse keeps Buffalo’s historic built environment from winding up in a landfill.
Best customer service
Multiple locations; deltasoniccarwash.com
Kittinger Furniture Company
4675 Transit Rd., Williamsville; 876-1000 or kittingerfurniture.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. It doesn’t hurt that there is a nice clean waiting room with snacks and reading material nearby.
Kittinger has kept its presidential clients happy for over forty years; chances are, your experience with Kittinger will also be satisfying. The experts at Kittinger can guide your selection from their large inventory, work with you on a custom piece, or help design a difficult space in your home.
Best place for wine tasting
City Wine Merchant
715 Main St., Buffalo; 931-9114 or citywinemerchant.com
There are different tiers of tastings at City Wine. The entry level happens on Thursday afternoons, but there are also special tasting that focus on Italy, Burgundy, and other major wine-producing regions. At these specialized tastings, expect to try the latest releases from such producers as Tenuta San Guido (Sassicaia) and Burgundy’s Faiveley, among many others.
Best big liquor/wine store (City)
Gates Circle wine and liquor
1430 Delaware Ave., Buffalo; 884-1346 or gatescircleliquor.com
This is not a huge venue, but it’s big enough to include everything you’re likely looking for, and the service is friendly and immediate. Gates has long been a favorite of the Elmwood Village and Delaware district communities; the prices are reasonable and the selection is excellent.
Best big liquor/wine store (Suburbs)
Consisting of McKinley Wine & Spirits, Global Wine & Spirits, and Colonial Wine & Spirits, this collection of megastores offers what every booze shopper needs: selection and value.
Best boutique wine/liquor store
435 Rhode Island St., Buffalo; 322-5396 or paradisewine.com
The best thing about this this charming little booze boutique? It’s not just wine. Paradise also stocks a small but absolutely top-notch selection of spirits, some produced locally. There are weekly tastings, a great newsletter, and a wine club. You’ll want to join it.
Most fun place to shop
676–694 Main Street, East Aurora; 652-0481 or vidlers5and10.com
An East Aurora mainstay since the 1930s, legend has it that old man Vidler first opened up his store because people needed a closer place to get thread than the distant city of Buffalo (sixteen miles away). Now, with a touted 75,000 items in stock, including candy, home décor, cards, candles, craft supplies and “year-round Christmas,” the biggest problem may be narrowing down your selections.
Best pet-related business
Elmwood Pet Supplies
706 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 883-1377 or elmwoodpet.com
Park 'n' Bark
866-4425 or parknbark.vpweb.com
A local favorite for over sixty years, this friendly storefront offers friendly advice and an excellent selection of pet supplies, food, and other products. For a hint of the personality here, check out this statement from their website: Our best selling foods are in the same price category as foods like Beneful (a food with which we are not impressed) and are free of by-products, corn, wheat and dyes. We try hard to have what the pet needs—or just wants.
Park ’n' Bark's mobile service makes much of the stress out of pet grooming. Make an appointment and it comes to you, so that pets are not waiting in cages or traveling. It’s a cute and convenient concept.
Best fitness classes
Revolution Indoor Cycling
1716 Main St., Buffalo; 4685 Transit Rd., Williamsville; 908-0622 or revolutionbuffalo.com
Fitness newbies and longtime fanatics alike love the energetic spin/TRX workouts at Revolution. The new Main Street facility (relocated from Delaware) is particularly attractive, with large windows and an industrial feel. The instructors are dedicated, and their clients are gently but firmly encouraged to push their workouts to the next level.
Best dance classes
Baila Salsa Dance Company
Pucho Olivencia Center, 261 Swan St., Buffalo; salsabuffalo.com or 807-7363
With regular Sunday lessons at their headquarters and frequent salsa nights at locations all over WNY, including Falafel Bar, Gypsy Parlor, and Larkin Square, Baila makes it easy to get your salsa on. Co-founders and award-winners Calvin Rice and Fanny Olaya have been dancing together for almost ten years.
East Meets West Yoga
1738 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 162 Mill St., Willimasville (at Village Glen); eastmeetswestyoga.com
The vinyasa, hatha, yin, and other classes offered here get rave reviews from their students. Now settled into their beautiful new facilty on Elmwood, EMW maintains their longheld reputation for excellence.
1738 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; 166 Allen St., Buffalo; 886-8200 or thepilatesloftbuffalo.com
Mat, tower, suspension, and reformer classes are included in this extensive pilates program; private and semiprivate classes are also available. Founder Beth Elkins has been teaching pilates since 2001; she is always welcoming and helpful.
Best new workout spot
Outdoor yoga at wilkeson pointe
Last summer, we heard about a great series of peaceful yoga workouts surrounded by the beauty of the Outer Harbor's newest park. The slow vinyasa workouts were accompanied by live cello music by Kathleen Ashwill and led by Monica Zucco and Julie Leatherbarrow.
Best new small retail business (Open in 2015 or later) Furnishings furnishingsbflo.com
Best new clothing boutique Annarlette facebook.com/ANNARLETTE
Best clothing boutique (Established) Anna Grace annagracebuffalo.tumblr.com
Best shop for formal wear (Men’s) Riverside Men’s Shop riversidemens.com
Best shop for formal wear (Women’s) Danahy’s mabeldanahy.com
Best shop for handmade jewelry Burchfield Penney Museum Store burchfieldpenney.org
Best shop for traditional jewelry Abraham's abrahamsjewelersbuffalo.com
Best shop for funky accessories Blush shopblushny.com
Best shop for unique gifts Fern and Arrow facebook.com/fernandarrowshop/
Best shop for men’s gifts Black Squirrel blacksquirreldistillery.com
Best shop for women’s gifts Renew Bath and Body renewbathandbody.com
Best shop for furniture Ethan Allen ethanallen.com
Best interior design Tres Jolie Maison tjminteriordesign.com
Best shop for home decor Ro rohomeshop.com
Best thrift shop Savers savers.com
Best sporting/outdoor life store Campus Wheelworks campuswheelworks.com
Best place for organic food Lexington Co-operative market Lexington.coop
Best small garden store Urban Roots community garden center urbanroots.org
Best tailor Bureau bureaumade.com
Best baby gifts Pumpkins pumpkinschildrensclothing.com
Most environmentally conscious retail business Buffalo ReUse buffaloreuse.org
Best place for wine tasting City Wine Merchant citywinemerchant.com
Best big liquor/wine store (City)Gates Circle wine and liquor gatescircleliquor.com
Best big liquor/wine store (Suburbs) Global group Global-wineandspirits.com
Best boutique wine/liquor store Paradise Wines paradisewine.com
Most fun place to shop Vidler's vidlers5and10.com
Best fitness classes Revolution Indoor Cycling revolutionbuffalo.com
Best dance classes Baila Salsa Dance Company salsabuffalo.com
Best yoga East Meets West Yoga eastmeetswestyoga.com
Best pilates Pilates Loft thepilatesloftbuffalo.com
Best new workout spot Outdoor yoga at wilkeson pointe
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