Beat up storefronts get a makeover and two tenants

Until recently 448-452 Amherst Street was in fairly rough shape. The previous owner of the building let it slip into foreclosure and unfortunately nobody bothered to bleed any of the water from the pipes. The pipes eventually froze, and the property sat empty falling into total disrepair. The building was then picked up at a City auction, and the deplorable state of the inside was not realized until the sale was complete and workers were finally able to walk inside to take a look around. It was only when the water was turned on in the basement that they learned that the building had not been mothballed – the pipes burst and the new owner suddenly realized that there was more work at hand than anyone had bargained for.

After working steadfast for weeks on repairing the two storefronts, today the scenario is completely different. 448 Amherst Street has been gutted and new floors have been installed. A Japanese-owned deli named Katsu Mart is moving in and will feature a coffee bar, a deli counter, and market items. Although the building owner initially was looking to restore the historic transom windows, the amount of overall damage that needed to be repaired to the entire building meant that a cost-saving awning would have to suffice – for now. Eventually the windows will be restored. Soon the market’s equipment will be brought in and Amherst Street will have another unique business to add to the already diverse mix of tenants.
Katsu-interior-Buffalo-NY.jpg
                                                             ^ Katsu
                                                                                        v Knock Out
KO-Chair-Buffalo-NY.jpg
The story is much the same at 452 Amherst Street where Knock Out Cuts has set up shop. Owners Nate Merchant, Dave Rogers and Monty Harper couldn’t believe their good fortune when they inquired into the space, not knowing that the building was scheduled to be fixed up. The storefront received a similar treatment, while the exterior transom windows were saved, which means that a sign will be hung instead of an awning. “I went to Buffalo State College,” Nate told me. “We wanted to be close to the college because we were looking to be near the student population. The three of us had been working together at another barber shop and decided that it was time to open up our own business. We all love boxing and decided that that would be a good theme.” 
Knock-Out-Cuts-Buffalo-NY.jpg
         ^(L-R) Monty Harper, Nate Merchant, Dave Rogers
KO-Cuts-Buffalo-NY.jpg
One look around the barber shop is enough to pick up on the theme, with loads of boxing memorabilia scattered in all directions. There are photos, posters, murals, logos… there’s even a punching bag hanging from the ceiling. Knock Out Cuts specializes in shaves, cuts, hair dyes, designs and beard trims. The business is a proud sponsor of the the WNY Dragons football team, and is excited to service the Black Rock community residents.
And on that note, Amherst Street has one less vacant building in need of a fix. These additions also bode well for the theory of power in numbers. There’s getting to be a nice concentration of businesses within short walking distance of Katsu and Knock Out. After I left to go back home, I walked a couple of doors down to grab a coffee at Delish! before heading past Lucy Ethiopian and back down Grant Street. Grant Street and Amherst Street have so much potential, much of which is finally being realized.
More news to come on Katsu Mart – 448 Amherst Street
Knock Out Cuts – 452 Amherst Street – Black Rock | 716-939-2457

About the author  ⁄ WCPerspective

Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

17 comments
moonqueen
moonqueen

AWESOME!!!! Moonqueen hearts Japanese food. Always happy to see new businesses opening in my 'hood.

BuffaloQPublic
BuffaloQPublic

Impressions Remodeling, Mr. Philip Perry and all involved -- hip hip hooray!

I second your challenge -- "let's rebuild Buffalo."

Danielle James
Danielle James

I think that the building looks amazing. There was a wonderful transformation that took place, with all the hard work of the contractor Phil Perry of Impressions Remodeling. The barber shop and soon to be deli will definitely add a little more value to the face of Amherst st.

Nicole perry
Nicole perry

I would like to congratulate my father ( phillip perry )the main contractor on this project and our company impressions remodeling (716)533-3658 for all their hard work in restoring this property for the city of buffalo and carousell properties. Buffalo needs more contractors like my father who really care about the city and more property owners and managers like carousell properties, and slp properties. Congrats dad im glad to see someone shining light to all the hard work you've done. It looks gorgeous guys!

impressions remodeling
impressions remodeling

we are also proud to be a buffalo born smaller company, that believes in attention to detail and pride in our work, rebuilding buffalo's proud heritage and historic buildings.

as the modern age continues we cannot forget our historic builders and there great gifts to us in architecture,lets not waste that gift and uniqueness they left in our care,new and modern is nice but we have so many older and gorgous buildings here that make our city what it is and what it was ,protect and secure our future from our history! LET'S REBUILD BUFFALO !!

impressions remodeling
impressions remodeling

thank you to all those for the great possitive comments on our restoration, we did have alot of hidden challanges with this remodel, due to alot of water damage ,we think it did turn out fantasticand are very proud of the work on the entire building.i would like to thank carousell properties for the trust and patiants during this project buffalo coudnt have a better investor than them to bring our neighbor hoods back to a livable and great condition, also thank you to sandy from slp properties the local property management firm without her trust and compassion for what she does for this area this project would have struggled as well as my team. buffalo needs more people like these to strive and survive, people who still believe in people and communities,a very heartfelt thank you!!

i cant wait for my first cup of coffee now from a beautiful place we have to share in riverside!

thank you all, phil, Impressions Remodeling

joey d
joey d

As the former owner...who re-habbed this building a few years earlier...and followed this buildings' demise,for the record..the California investor, who I sold this building to, let this slip into disrepair due to poor management. A local property manager, who exploited his West Coast distance from the owner, and a salon owner who was troublesome, even when I owned it, stop paying rent for about a year....causing the Bank to foreclose, due to no cash flow and vacancies... not the City.

Unable to gain any access to the basement, to shut water and bleed water lines, the lines froze, even in the rear building ruining the garage apartment entirely. Assisting the then listing realestate agent, checking the exterior of the buildind, heard water rushing down the walls inside. I called City water dept. and alerted them, unfortunately and water was shut off at the street much too late.

The bank contacted me and asked if I had any interest in taking back the property at a hugely discounted price...but the undertaking was too great..mold, water damage, and general disrepair over time was more than I wished to tackle. I am glad that the new owners have brought this building back to life...as it was when I owned it.

There are seven units here and eventually all will be rented. I have visited the building a few times, talking to the contractor ...he is doing right by the building ..and of course the new owners are too!

BuffaloQPublic
BuffaloQPublic

Many compliments to the owners for the commendable makeover/facelift!

Best wishes to Knock Out Kuts!

The thoughtful, creative attention to details is evident and should appeal to their targeted young, hip group of customers.

Their urban persona appears to be in the same vein as the car dealer who is "huge" (i.e., a marketing strategy).

Dagner
Dagner

No need to apologize for the awning. This one looks great, adds dimension to the facade, and protects pedestrians. Yes, restoration of the transom windows would be welcome, but puritanical adherence to original designs might not serve current needs.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

I have always welcomed immigrants to the neighborhood, they tend to be hard working and usually are quiet, good neighbors. There is a fear and intolerance of "foreigners" that is based in ignorance, not fact. This city was built by immigrants and they are certainly a force in rebuilding our neighborhoods.

NorthBuf
NorthBuf

South Buffalo should be made head of the immigrant welcoming committee

Rand503
Rand503

Part of Buffalo's future is in welcoming new immigrants. Some people don't like that --- they only want "Americans" to populate our cities, forgetting that all of use are decendants of immigrants (with few exceptions), and also forgetting the vitality and economic benefits that these immigrants bring.

The more we can do to have people populate the city the better off we all are.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

Black Rock has seen an influx of Asian's in the past few years, they are the latest group of immigrants to settle here. The neighborhood has a long history as a melting pot and we are fortunate to have so many different cultures in such a small area. This has always been the case, when my grandfather attended PS# 20 at the turn of century there were over 20 different languages spoken at the school. Great to see these new entrepenours investing in Black Rock.

LouisTully
LouisTully

On the NW side of the Amherst/Grant intersection across from the mural on Lucy Ethiopian something is going on with those storefronts. I don't think I missed a report on here about it.

Also across from the Jims on Allen there is a storefront that has been gutted. Not sure what's going on there but I've seen guys in there working everday.

JSmith
JSmith

This is looking great. A Japanese market is especially welcome when most of the local Asian groceries seem to be in the Sheridan Drive area.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

Amherst Street continues to attract new investment and is looking better all the time. The stretch between Elmwood and Grant is now quite healthy and we hope to see more developement west of Grant down towards Tonawanda Street. The long term goal is to connect the Niagara Street business district and Market Square Historic District,(both near Niagara and Amherst)with Grant-Amherst.

The old Key Bank building at 52 Amherst is up for sale, great space would make an excellent coffee shop or restaurant. The building is eligible for a 20% state historic tax credit and an additional 20% federal tax credit.

Black Rock has come a long way in the past 5 or 10 years, still have a long way to go but the tide has turned and we look forward to a bright future for Buffalo's oldest neighborhood.

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