The Art of Collaboration: New Kids On The Block

I remember what it was like being a small new business owner on Elmwood Avenue, back in the day. It was exciting, but also scary. This was before Forever Elmwood (now the Elmwood Village Association) was formed. Other than being closely aligned with Urban Surf Shop (eventually Urban Threads), it seemed as if I was on a remote island, waiting to be discovered.

When I heard that 8 new small businesses were coming together to form a holiday shopping alliance in 2021, I readily understood the importance of the initiative. It was Jennifer Barton from The Charcoal Annex (located at Wax and Wane) that initially told me about the brilliant idea. 

My company The Charcoal Annex is partnering with 7 other newer, small businesses to do a holiday shopping punch card. It’s called New Kids on the Block,” said Jennifer. “Keelin (Realm), Tracey (Little Salmon) and I really spearheaded this project together, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring so many people together!”

Get your stamps by spending $15 or more at 5 of the 8 spots before January 8th. After you’ve toured the new businesses, choose ONE promo on the back from your favorite one!

Not only will this creative partnership help these small businesses throughout the holidays, this unique engagement will reap benefits for years to come. Whether it’s tag-teaming for events, promotions, pop-ups, marketing, friendships, etc., there are countless ways that these newfound relationships will further stabilize and strengthen the individual shops, as well as Buffalo retail shopping culture as a whole.

So how did it all start?

“It was important for me to stop in and introduce myself to Keelin (learn more) as we opened up a couple weeks apart,” said Jennifer. “I thought it would be nice to say hi, and how stoked I was that she had opened up! I think even though we are both retail/gift shops we have two different vibes, and ways of doing things… and how cool would it be to work together to bring people into both shops. I was so great to meet Tracey and see how well our energies fed off of each other.”

“At first, the idea actually started by wanting to entice Buffalonians to check out shops off the beaten path,” said Keelin. “Jenn, Tracey and I noticed that beyond our shops, there were several small businesses that were helping to revitalize areas of Buffalo apart from the most trafficked shopping areas. Plus, plenty of blocks that were left vacant for some time are coming back strong (The Beer Keep helping out with that). After last year, it can feel overwhelming to approach all the new happenings in the city. There’s SO much new stuff! New Kids on the Block is a way to check out some of the newest spots in a passport-like way (remember Art on Wheels?), and also get a promo for having shopped local. It’s fun, and it’s a win-win scenario.”

Shops are as follows:

  • Little Salmon | 230 Lexington Ave, Buffalo, NY 14222
  • Mojo Market | 3030 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14217
  • Noble Root Wine & Spirits | 515 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14203
  • Realm | 441 Ellicott St, Buffalo, NY 14203
  • The Beer Keep | 1002 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14222
  • The Blue House Collective | 212 Grant St, Buffalo, NY 14213
  • Wax and Wane | 464 Amherst St, Buffalo, NY 14207
  • What’s Pop-In | 1239 Niagara St, Buffalo, NY 14213

“If I’ve learned anything from this last year of building The Charcoal Annex, leading up to partnering with Pour and Penchant to open Nickel City Wax and Wane (see story); it’s that community over competition is what the city of Buffalo is all about,” Jennifer explained. “I’ve learned and grown so quickly due to the expertise shared with me, networking, collabs, and just general cheerleading I’ve received from so many businesses. My partner TJ, 125 Curiosity Shop, Timeless Babez, JW Designs, The Blue House Collective, Jillian Burton Art, Sweet Merlo Designs, Snowy Owl Kombucha, and Pour and Penchant to name a few – they’ve all helped me get to where I am… and it’s been incredible to be able to be the person to help other business owners and pass that attitude on. We have to do it together to build a stronger, better community of small businesses in Buffalo.”

This collaborative promotion is valid until March 31st.

The Art of Collaboration: New Kids On The Block