On any given weekend, make your way to Chippewa Street and you’ll find hordes of UB students lined up outside bars, restaurants and clubs for a good time.
What about things to do for a good time before the sun goes down? Aside from heading to the Niagara Falls Shopping Center or Galleria Mall, many students feel there aren’t any weekend activities that will fill their time without wasting their money.
When attending college somewhere new, try immersing yourself in the local community to get the most out of your time away from home.
Elmwood Village is a vibrant Buffalo community packed with art and culture. Charming local businesses line the walkable streets. With sustainable living and secondhand purchasing becoming more prominent, more folks understand the importance of shopping small.
Consider swapping your mall trips for a stroll in Elmwood Village. Here, you’ll find unique gifts, vintage clothing, local art and a strong, colorful community looking to share their culture with younger generations.
Here are The Spectrum’s cutest spots for secondhand and sustainable shopping in Elmwood Village:
A gorgeous, curated collection of vintage clothing and accessories fill Scoop Shop, Buffalo’s oldest consignment shop. Owner Wendie Reed and her “girl gang” love educating shoppers about the space’s extensive history.
“The store actually started in 1937 as a clothing swap so that ladies could get their fancy clothes despite the war. The ladies kept doing it and eventually hubby wanted his living room back, so they opened the store here in 1945.” Reed explained. “So it’s been the Scoop Shop for over 75 years, and I’m the fourth owner.”
Navigating to Scoop Shop is a breeze. A line of funky high heels leads passersby right from the street to the storefront. Shoppers are also typically greeted by a $5 rack of goodies outside before entering to a store full of clothing, jewelry, knickknacks and history.
“When I bought [Scoop Shop], I didn’t just buy the clothing and the space — I bought the community.” Reed said. “The woman I bought it from used to have a group of girls that always hung out. And now I do.”
The Wandering Wonder Bus
Often found parked outside Scoop Shop, The Wandering Wonder Bus is exactly what it sounds like. The mini vintage boutique-on-wheels holds more treasures than it seems like it could from the outside.
Upon entry, shoppers will find racks of unique, vintage clothing for all genders lining the walls where seats once laid. There are also racks of colorful antique glassware perfect for classy, old school home decor.
Back outside the bus, a table of accessories and even more clothing racks invite shoppers to hang out in the sun and chat with the shop owners.
“This is such a vibrant area,” Andre Frazier, a friend of Wandering Wonder Bus’ owners, remarked. “Shops like this are really the backbone of the city. I’m amazed to see how many people are out today but it is a great way to spend an afternoon.”
Second Chic is a consignment shop with one location in Elmwood Village and another in Williamsville. The shop keeps high-quality clothes circulating throughout the city by getting their inventory right from community members. Anyone can book an appointment with Second Chic to bring in merchandise for review, allowing the store to cultivate a store filled with lots of distinctive items that each hold a piece of Buffalo history.
“Stores like Second Chic are important because they keep money within the community,” Second Chic worker Susanna Rowland said. “We’re reducing waste as much as possible, but it’s also just fun to watch people enjoy their clothes and give them another life.”
Blue Moon Vintage Bus
Another revamped bus can be found in Elmwood Village. Blue Moon Vintage is a mobile vintage shop that specializes in mid-century modern antiques and collectibles.
But their impressive inventory doesn’t end there. Vintage lingerie lovers will be stopped dead in their tracks at the rack of gorgeous slips and nightgowns on the sidewalk outside.
“Elmwood is a really cool place full of creative and wonderful people,” shop owner Nia Marcolini said. “It’s a great place to meet like-minded artisans and other loving individuals who just want to protect our earth and society.”
Thin Ice & Lumpy Buttons
Patrons entering this shop are first greeted by the resident cat, Marshmallow, then by an array of goods handmade by local artists. It’s the perfect spot to get the art-lover in your life something special and uniquely Buffalo, whether that be handmade jewelry, clothing, skincare products or ceramics.
Make your way to the very back to find an extra surprise: Lumpy Buttons is a mini arts and crafts store that resides right within Thin Ice. Every inch is crammed with art supplies, craft kits and even some of the owner’s handcrafted creations.
Owner Esther Neisen was delighted with the opportunity to sublet from Thin Ice and fill a need in Elmwood Village: the need for craft supplies at a local, non-chain location.
“I absolutely love [Lumpy Buttons],” Neisen gushed. “I love seeing people get excited to start a craft or find something that they love. Then they’ll come back wearing what they made and it's just beautiful.”
This charming community in Elmwood Village starts with amazing local shops and their devotion to preserving what Buffalo — “the city of good neighbors” — is all about.
The arts desk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org