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The Monocle: a new shopping experience on Hertel

The Monocle
Posted at 5:30 PM, Jul 19, 2022

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — As you drive down Buffalo's Hertel Avenue, you can't help but notice the large black building near Traymore Street. It's exterior alone stands out.

"I'm attracted to a black building. It's so unique. It's so beautiful," said owner Michael Poczkalski.

When you step inside, it might stand out even more. The Monocle is the brainchild of business owners and partners Michael Poczkalski and David Brugh. Poczkalski owns furniture and design store Room, and Brugh owns barbershop Crockett & Co.

"The idea was - let's combine our businesses," explained Poczkalski. "He has the barber shop, I have the furniture store and design business."

As you walk upstairs, you'll find the new location for Room, which had been on Hertel Avenue for more than a decade. Downstairs is the barbershop, along with an area called the library, which sells books, candles and a number of items for around the home. There's also a cafe, which the owners are hoping will be fully-operational by the fall. They say the idea is to change your shopping experience.

"Bringing back the old days of how we used to shop," explained Brugh. "Multi faceted, many reasons to go in there."

"AM&A's," echoed Poczkalski. "I remember growing up with my grandmother taking me to the lunch counter there or for a fancy meal on upper floor."

The interior now is a far cry from what this building, a former synagogue, looked like only years ago.

"It sat empty for a long time. When we took over - when we walked through for the first time it was awful inside. It was damp, it was dark," said Poczkalski.

But the two had a vision, and after seeing the building up for sale, they decided they could make it work.

Now it's transformed into a department store setting, which is part of the rebirth of Hertel, and a new chapter for the businesses inside.

"To make it through the pandemic and hit the ground running - with a new building - we're very proud of the end product," said Poczkalski.

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