It was 2017 when the Fillmore Forward organization, with the help of interior design students from the state of Buffalo, undertook their first storefront makeover project at 1474 Fillmore Avenue, Buffalo State.
Now the organization is trying to do it all again, but this time the group has teamed up with Masters of Urban Planning students at the University at Buffalo to tackle a storefront renovation of Charlie’s Food Market at 927 Broadway. The students worked with the store’s owner, Yasri Alabaddi, to receive a $40,000 revitalization grant from the Eric County Storefront Program. They worked under the direction of Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, PhD Department of Urban and Regional Planning School of Architecture and Planning, and members of Fillmore Forward.
Ultimately, the project envisages the restoration of the shop front, e.g. B. Brick veneer, paint, new shatterproof windows, lighting and signage. Other neighborhood-friendly amenities include a bike rack and bench. The goal is to create a neighborhood center that demonstrates the power of such revitalization efforts by creating a more walkable neighborhood (with more reasons to walk and bike).
Student volunteers Andrea Harder, Silvi Patel and Shameeq Willis worked directly with Alabaddi to envision what the storefront might one day look like.
It was Alabaddi’s father who, according to Fillmore Forward, started out as a cashier at the market before buying the business and eventually the building. Today the family lives upstairs and works in the market, meaning they have a vested interest in seeing the transformation of the building… and the street.
It is interesting to note that the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood was once considered Buffalo’s second downtown area. Hopefully projects like this will inspire others to jump on the restoration bandwagon while helping to shape the bigger picture.