With an enormous inventory of instruments, a dependable technician, and friendly instructors, The Guitar Factory is the kind of store that performers come to count on over the course of their musical evolution. Here, musicians can browse from simple-starter electric guitars from Ibanez to high-end acoustics from Martin. Keyboards, percussion, amps, basses, and other gear are also available. When wear and tear strikes, the shop’s in-house repairman, Charles J. Quagliana, can nurse instruments back to functionality. Charles has honed his handiwork by working for superstars such as Mary J. Blige, Prince, The Beach Boys, and the Mos Eisley Cantina band.
In the studio’s 10 air-conditioned lesson rooms, a team of teachers with more than 30 years’ experience teach guitar, drums, bass, keyboard, and other instruments. Joe Shanahan, who teaches bass, guitar, vocal, keyboards, and drums, was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame with his band, Only Humen, and guitarist/singer/teacher Tommy Z has performed for the U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Instructors tailor each lesson to student’s individual needs; with a current student pool ranging from ages 4 to 70, instructors are comfortable working with a wide range of skill sets.
Since 1953, the team at Perry's Nurseries and Garden Center has helped customers refine the appearances and health of their homes' precious landscapes. The greenhouse introduces local gardeners to a vast inventory of ornamental trees, roses, annuals, and perennials, while the shop's interior houses all manner of yard accents and tools. Perry's gears up for holidays with decorative items such as Thanksgiving corncobs, Mother's Day hanging plants, and Christmas wreaths and poinsettias. Hand-tuned wind chimes sing in the breeze created by a neighbor's industrial-strength hair dryer, and birdbaths and statuaries strain to remain utterly still while humans ponder their adoption.
If you can name it, the staff members at Village Sweet Shoppe have probably dipped it in their housemade chocolate. They dip everything from the mainstays of strawberries and housemade sponge candy to more inventive options such bacon and personalized wine bottles for party favors.
On the corner of Buffalo and Main Street, Ten Thousand Wines inhabits a quaint brick building that welcomes visitors to its microwinery and tasting room. As a winery free from ties to a particular vineyard, Ten Thousand Wines' staff can source its grapes from vines all around the world—including Antarctica—a practice that inspired the winery's name. The vintners hand make each variety in small batches and carry more than 40 wines in their retail store. At a tasting bar, open Tuesday–Saturday, curious sippers perch around a quarter-circle bar to sniff and swirl their wines, such as Nooks & Crannies, a cranberry-chianti blend, or the delicate Delaware, made from New York grapes. The shop's resident oenophiles share their passion with guests in 90-minute wine-making classes, bolstered by a wealth of wine kits and raw grape juices. In an article from the Buffalo News, owner Mike Ditonto cites what he sees as the appeal of home winemaking: nostalgia for grandparents' wine cellars and new methods of family bonding more comfortable than supergluing yourself to a favorite relative.
The Lackawanna headquarters of Phoenix Scuba and Water Sports is situated so that it attracts both Canadian diving enthusiasts who drop in from the Niagara Peninsula as well as divers from throughout western New York State. Recreational-minded beginners hop into an indoor pool to build skills and underwater experience before venturing out to the open water on one of the company's scuba charters. Meanwhile, Phoenix's veteran instructors work with professional divers-in-training who are trying to become certified. Instructional programs are also offered in adaptive diving, which trains those with physical disabilities to safely enjoy the joys of scuba. Through the years, the resident community of adaptive divers has made trips to exotic locales such as the Cayman Islands, where divers explore the ocean's depths and play Battleship underwater.