Buffalo Vintage and Industrial: Preserving A Piece of Buffalo’s Past

 

Photo by Tracy Marciano

I want one of those T-Shirts! – Photo by Tracy Marciano

As you walk into the storefront of Buffalo Vintage and Industrial, a division of Dave and Adams Card World, it’s as though you’ve just stepped into a living history textbook (more specifically, the chapter on local industrial artifacts). Your eyes grow wide as you soak in your surroundings. That’s the kind of reaction owner Mark Gamble and his staff want you to have.

A young store, opening its doors in January of 2014, Buffalo Vintage and Industrial allows customers from all around to dive into a major part of Western New York’s history. As many of you know, there was a time when Western New York was a mecca for industry with huge companies like Curtis Wright as well as the ever popular Bethlehem Steel. Located in Tonawanda, Buffalo Vintage and Industrial has built up a vast inventory of historical gold mines that allow some to go back in time to a world they grew up in, and others, a chance to get a glimpse of what our wonderful city (as well as other neighboring areas) had to offer.

Photo by Tracy Marciano

Old Containers from the GM Stamping Plant! – Photo by Tracy Marciano

Locals and visitors start their experience at the storefront, where you are immediately hit with a vast wall of books. Rare and classic leather-bound editions of books, both individual and full sets, surround the majority of the perimeter. Many guests purchase these as decor for their homes. Mark Gamble quotes the American designer Baldwin by saying, “the best decoration is a room full of books.” Being a lover of literature myself, I couldn’t agree more. As one ventures further into the store, the aesthetic of industry explodes with a variety of different tools, storage units, and even some old blueprints from Delaware Park, which are cascaded across the area. While they do alter some materials with a creative mind, Gamble explains that many of the items can be purchased “as-is.” A major item is bleacher wood. This is a rare material in the world we live in today. Strong and sturdy, bleacher wood can be repurposed in many different ways. Oil rag disposal units, tool benches, drill bits, saw horses, all are marked and touched with their own personal experiences.

The world expands even further in the massive warehouse behind the store. Here, people can see even more, and even larger, items Mark has purchased to preserve and distribute. Some of the most interesting and beautiful pieces were items from the old Buffalo Forge. Several drill presses bearing the popular “Buffalo” logo can be found waiting for the right individual to purchase and carry on in sharing the machines’ historical journeys. Desks from schools, a counter top from the old Gazebos restaurant, doors, light fixtures, industrial hooks, clamps, and anything else that is indestructible consume the warehouse. Given that we live in a world where it seems as though the items you buy instantly explode and crumble just as you walk out of the store, seeing items that have weathered the storms of twenty, thirty, forty, maybe even fifty years of abuse and work is refreshing. Mark describes our world as “planned obsolescence,” a world where it is the manufacturer’s goal to make items that have a shelf life so short, you’ll be back in the store before you know it buying a new one. At Buffalo Vintage, they supply and seek out items that have “planned permanence” or items that were intended to last practically forever. He goes on to say, “The more indestructible it is, the more we want it.”

Photo by Tracy Marciano

$3.95 for Dinner? Count me in!!! – Photo by Tracy Marciano

After an overwhelmingly enjoyable walk through the store and warehouse, we sat down to discuss what this city has to offer as well as how it has responded to a historical outlet striving to keep Western New York’s industrial past from slipping out of our hands and into a scrap yard. Mark explains that “the industrial aesthetic is becoming a big trend” and that this city is embracing it. Items from Bethlehem Steel, Curtis Wright, old breweries and others are all things Mark and his staff strive to get their hands on. “Anything local and significant, we want to get our hands on it.” This is a goal that, in their short time of being open, they have accomplished greatly. It’s easier with a city like ours. How have the city’s residents and even residents of other areas including Toronto and New York City responded? It can be summed up in one word according to Mark: “great.”

The dedication Buffalo Vintage and Industrial has to finding remarkable industrial pieces from Western New York’s golden eras puts them in a league of their own. Visitors can come in and reminisce or learn about a part of this city’s past that helped put it on the map. Lovers of history, art, design, or even just lovers of Western New York can own a piece of history for a reasonable price too (another trait that sets Buffalo Vintage apart from others). Mark Gamble and his team do an incredible job saving a part of our local world from vanishing from existence.

The Crew! - Photo by Tracy Marciano

The Crew! – Photo by Tracy Marciano

Like them on Facebook: facebook.com/BuffVintage

Follow them on Twitter: @BuffVintage

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One Comment on “Buffalo Vintage and Industrial: Preserving A Piece of Buffalo’s Past”

  1. Bert April 24, 2015 at 2:14 pm #

    I would like to visit your store but couldn’t find an address on your web site. Where are you located?

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