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'Pop Up' retailing test case starts at Market Arcade

Buffalo leaders are hoping the first wave of "Queen City Pop Up" retailers may open the door for more empty Main Street storefronts to be filled with small stores.

The quintet of "Queen City Pop Up" retailers officially opened their doors on Nov. 3 in the Market Arcade complex. The five stores will remain open through Dec. 24. The Market Arcade space was donated by the building's new owner, real estate investor/developer Nick Sinatra.

A joint effort by the Buffalo Urban Development Corp., Buffalo Place Inc. and Working for Downtown identified the retailers and under the program, the stores were given rent-free space through Christmas Eve as a means for encouraging more downtown retail offerings.

"Our goal is to stores back to downtown Buffalo," said Mayor Byron Brown. "We want to show the retail community and the region's customer base about the power of shopping in downtown Buffalo."

Brown said the city will be using the sales results from the "Queen City Pop Up" program as a litmus test to show store owners — both local and national — that downtown can sustain retail operations.

"We know retailing can come back to downtown in a major way, we just have to show it," Brown said.

Among the urban retailing pioneers is Lorri Carnevale, who owns Uniquely You, a boutique offering handmade jewelry and such apparel has hand-crafted scarfs.

Carnevale said opening in downtown was always a goal of hers. A combination of factors including the development resurgence in the central business district gave her the comfort level to move ahead with her retailing dream.

"With the way everything is going in downtown, I felt that this was the best time to do this," Carnevale said.

Besides Uniquely you, also selected for the first round of the "Queen City Pop Up" program:

  • Azariah Innocence, which is currently in the Foundry. The retailer is using the second location to sell its line of organic bath gels and other items.
  • Buffalo Adore, who has a location in South Buffalo. Buffalo Adore sells a wide variety of Buffalo-related gift items and knick-knacks.
  • Preferred Werk, a start-up retailer, who sells various clothing items.
  • Rust Belt Love, another start-up retailer that sells a variety of Buffalo items.