A New World Order
Yes, it's true... New World Record is moving into a plaza at the corner of Delaware and Hertel (as originally reported by the Buffalo News this past weekend). I stopped by to talk to the owners of New World, Govindan Kartha and Elizabeth Eisenhauer... to find out what exactly their motivations were. Govindan was on hand, and he explained, "A year ago we never would have considered the move. Then we entered into talks with Benchmark (owner of both locations) and we saw that they were making some real improvements to the corner of Hertel and Delaware. We had been looking at the Pier 1 location and that was too big. We also thought about the DVD.Dot at the corner of North and Elmwood, but that just didn't feel right. I've really been digging Hertel lately. There's a new energy over there. A lot of young people are buying their first houses in that neighborhood... it has a strong residential feel. As a matter of fact it was my first stomping ground when I was young. I'm happy to invest there. People for so long have been calling Elmwood the commercial 'Crown Jewel'... I think that there are two crown jewels in Buffalo and Hertel is one of them."
It's still hard to imagine New World anywhere other than where they are right now. But if you think back... way, way back... the business started out in Williamsville in '84. From there they moved to Elmwood between Utica and Hodge in '90. Then they picked up and headed down to their current location at the corner of Cleveland in '99. Who knew that the Spot Coffee - New World Record forces would eventually split and head their separate ways? "The downside is that we're leaving Elmwood," Govindan reflected. "I like my neighbors. Elizabeth is on the board of the Elmwood Association. Unfortunately, we outgrew our space and the original design... we're going from 2500 sq.' to 3000 sq.'. We need that extra room for our non-album merchandise. We also need more room for a stage... our in-store performances get a lot of traffic. Our new location will put us a little outside of the walking district, but there will be sixty parking spaces... and even more for employees. The plaza has now been chopped up, and we'll be there with a bank, a UPS store, a nail shop, a pet store, and a Chinese food place."
Govindan told me earlier that they have been receiving a ton of unsolicited emails from their customers saying that they are happy about the move. Not only will the capital improvements continue at the corner of Delaware and Hertel (paving, landscaping and curb-cuts), Benchmark has already added eight windows to the Delaware facade where New World will also showcase their gigantic album covers from the Elmwood location. "There's also an out-parcel Dunkin' Donuts coming to that corner," Govindan added. "We're hoping to become a destination shop in that area. And we're excited to work with the Hertel Association when we're established. I even heard that Sit and Spin Records is moving onto Delaware six blocks away. That means that most of the Indie record shops will be in relative close proximity. It'll be like a music shopping district."
New World Record plans on being open in their new location no later than October 1st. In the past there have been many discussions about bridging the gap between the Elmwood and Hertel commercial districts. Some of these commercial additions as well as aesthetic improvements could go a long way towards doing so. This corner has been a real eyesore for a long time. It was not too long ago that Abraham's Jewelers opted out of the plaza and headed onto Elmwood (corner of Auburn). Those types of moves can often signal to a developer that it is time to spend some money in order to attract a quality tenant. And lo and behold... they attracted a quality tenant in a big way. It's a bold move for a brave New World.
*Side note: This post was written and published at the North Park Branch Library at the corner of Hertel and Delaware. This was the first time that I ever walked through the doors of this public library. I am sure that there will be many more New World customers who will find their way to previously unexplored neighborhood amenities. It's the only WiFi that I've discovered along the Hertel stretch.