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Sunday, June 09, 2019

Speakeasy Books and Art Café | Coffee - Buffalo Rising

For years, I bought flowers from Flowers by Chuck at X-Cel’s – 177 Hodge Street. The owner, who recently passes away, had a decent flower selection, at reasonable prices, and was a fixture in the Elmwood neighborhood

Photo: Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising.

A few months ago, I got a message from a local used book aficionado by the name of Noah Wojcik. Over the last few summers, Wojcik and another used book seller by the name of Eric Mowery, had been setting up a stand at The Peddler Flea Market (corner of Elmwood and West Ferry – Saturdays). It turned out that their combined book venture was gaining speed, and they were on the hunt for a permanent location. We talked about all of the different possibilities, in various Buffalo neighborhoods, and kept coming back to the Elmwood Village. With used book stores in various other parts of the city, Elmwood was in need of such a business… but was Elmwood too expensive?

Since initially hearing from Wojcik, and then meeting up with him to learn more about their plan, the two have been scouring the Elmwood Village, looking for that diamond in the rough. When the Flowers by Chuck location became available, Wojcik knew immediately that this was the opportunity that they had been looking for. Wojcik and Mowery both lived close to the location, and the place needed a ton of work, so they made an offer to the building owner, that if they fixed up the space, they would get a break on the rent. And that’s how these two used book experts came to land a brick and mortar business in an ideal space.

Now, if you think that fixing up a former flower shop is an easy task, think again. There are few places in Buffalo, that I have ever seen, that are in need of so much elbow grease. “There were four floors in here,” said Mowery, as he scraped the popcorn walls. “We’re pretty much starting from scratch here.”...

Ultimately, the business will be a mixed bag of fiction and rare books, original art, a small oratory space with flex seating… and a café. While the two are both self-professed “coffee fiends”, they have not quite yet figured out exactly what the coffee angle will entail. Mowery gets his coffee from all over the world and is excited to feature different roasts and blends at the café, but it is Wojcik who appears to be driving the café venture at Speakeasy Books and Art Café (that name could change, but it’s what they’ve been working with to date). “It’s going to be a dynamic space,” said Wojcik. He told me that it’s going to be a lot of different things to a lot of different people, all of who have an an appreciation for a more culturally curated Buffalo.

Source: Buffalo Rising