SUNY Buffalo State fashion merchandising students have put their creative spin on a city project meant to encourage shopping locally during the holidays. Queen City Pop-Up: Holiday Edition, a new initiative of Mayor Bryon Brown, Buffalo Urban Development Corporation (BUDC), and other partners, is offering free space to five independent retailers in the Market Arcade Building, 617 Main Street, through December 24.
The retailers now inhabiting the previously empty storefronts in the Market Arcade are Buffalo Adore, Preferred Werk, Azariah’s Innocence, Rust Belt Love, and Uniquely You. Their wares range from handmade jewelry to all-natural beauty products.
"We're looking to encourage retail activity on Main Street," said Brandye Merriweather, BUDC downtown development coordinator and manager. She explained that property owners Sinatra & Company agreed to provide retail space rent-free for the holiday shopping season.
"The hope is that it will be positive experience for the temporary merchants who may sign onto a long-term lease."
Merriweather approached Lynn Boorady, associate professor and chair of the college’s Fashion and Textile Technology (FTT) Department, about having students create window displays for the storefronts. Two students in lecturer Bill Russell-Tuohey’s visual display course volunteered.
Merriweather knew she could count on talented and determined fashion merchandising students as she graduated from the FTT program in 2005. She wasn’t disappointed.
"The students did a terrific job on the windows," said Merriweather. "I'm so glad we connected with Buffalo State."
Russell-Tuohey and students Jennifer Steinhorst and Menon Rakki created displays for three interior and two exterior windows. Installation included merchandise from the individual retailers along with historic animatronics such as puppets and trains, which once graced the display windows of the flagship AM&A’s department store.
"It's been a lot of fun and a great experience," said Russell-Tuohey, who also works as a retail store manager and has experience dressing windows. "I thought it provided an unusual challenge for our students, plus they got to work with a piece of Buffalo history."
Other Queen City Pop-up sponsors are Buffalo Place and Working for Downtown. Shopping hours are Monday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5:00 p.m. through Christmas Eve.
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