Thursday, July 29, 2010

Buffalo Statler Towers Volunteer Sales Effort Status Report

When I first got involved, the Statler was for sale - but wasn't exactly for sale because nobody knew it was for sale. Sales information was nowhere to be found on the Internet. People naturally assumed that the Statler was not sellable because there were no qualified buyers appearing. The Statler was being scheduled for abandonment. Creating the website and a free Loopnet ad brought in qualified buyers from near and far. This fixed the matter of the sale's secrecy. 

Over the next several weeks, there was a series of arcane seller issues. There were also questionable obstacles: interference, threats, and intimidation from entrenched interests. That has been fixed.

There was an obstacle to the buyers that has also been fixed. A public mindset had been established that the Statler was a 100+ million dollar total restoration project.  I emphasized a much more modest business plan to the buyers. The Statler has potential without necessarily requiring the type of full restoration that owner, Bashar Issa, planned. The Golden Ballroom played host to lavish weddings and parties as recently as several months ago. The Statler has been an uninterrupted going concern since 1923. Businesses occupied the building until several months ago. The Statler can bring back tenants one by one, slowly over time, build to suit according to market demand, and steadily build on the already accomplished restorations.   This modest business plan has been made practical by the city’s lowered tax assessment. 

Fortunately, I did not run out of persistent qualified buyers to help advance the process each time to the next breakdown. We are closer than ever. I am confident that we will arrive soon - but we aren't ready to drive around without the toolbox.

8/2/2010 Update: 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Buffalo Bloviator Sucks-Up To 200 Buffalo Big-Wigs By Preserving Their Barbershop.

This is a BuffaloBloviator Follow-up Report: 
Sam and Nafiza's Retirement Party held last night in the lobby of the Ellicott Square Building.

You can view the original BuffaloBloviator post at

I missed seeing the Ellicott Square Hair Salon story on Channel 7 EYEWITNESS NEWS. I should have had the presence of mind to think of dialing it in on Carl Paladino's huge lobby TV set.

Sam Jafari presenting the new proprietor, Theresa Schwimmer.

Meanwhile elsewhere in the building and unbeknown to the party guests, the volunteers were plotting and scheming to turn Albany up-side down!
A good perspective of Sam's haircuts.
Sam and Nafiza looking regal by the south staircase.

In all likelyhood, no other barber in history has retired with such pageantry.

Sam addresses his clientele of 43 years.

Congressman Tom Reynolds will be the honored recipient of Sam's last hair-cut this Friday.

Bill Savino with The Wife (Mary Kunz Goldman)

I couldn't get anybody to take a picture of me and my Facebook friend and power-elite member, Bill Savino, but I was able to get my glasses in the picture.

The ceremonial passing of the torch from Sam to new proprietor, Theresa.

From left: The Wife, BuffaloBloviator, Theresa, Sam, and Nafiza.

I usually get thrown out of the place when I play that piano so this was a special treat for me.

Meanwhile out in the real world, bedlam was occurring to the traffic cones at the Buffalo Statler

To decompress and to celebrate, the Bloviator took The Wife to visit his favorite bartender at E.B.Green's.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

George Steinbrenner's Buffalo Connection

George Steinbrenner at his Roundtable Restaurant, 153 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo NY.
Max Margulis (left), George Steinbrenner (middle), Lou Madia (right) Lou introduced George to his partners.

I am flying Big Blue's flag at half staff today in tribute to the passing of Roundtable Restaurant founder, George Steinbrenner. Mr. Steinbrenner actually announced his purchase of the Yankees from his restaurant at 153 Delaware Avenue. ("Big Blue" is the nickname coined for the former Roundtable Restaurant building I purchased near Niagara Square because a previous owner painted the entire exterior blue and named it Club Cobalt.)

For a dozen years in the 1960s and 1970s, the Round Table Restaurant in Buffalo was the place to be. Athletes, politicians and onlookers crowded the bar and filled every darkened booth. Max Margulis, who opened the steak house with George Steinbrenner, called the place his "saloon."  

153 Delaware Avenue is the last remaining 19th century Delaware Avenue home near Niagara Square. It was called The Roundtable Restaurant when George Steinbrenner owned it. 

153 Delaware is two doors north of the Buffalo Statler Towers.

Last week I decided to sweep up the old attic down at Big Blue. I found a couple books of old Roundtable Restaurant matches that had literally been hidden by dust.  I started thinking about the last living partner in the restaurant and poked around Google on the Internet. I read George Steinbrenner was not well and was keeping himself away from the public. It occurred to me that there would be a transition one of these days soon and I felt blue about it. He was quite a guy. When I went home I mentioned to The Wife that I checked up on George and how sad it made me to think of such a dynamic man retired and separated from what he loves - and that one of these days his passing will be big news.

Monday, July 12, 2010

200 Of Buffalo's Top VIP's - Free To Good Home

Sam has created an important Buffalo institution which should be preserved.

From time to time your BuffaloBloviator comes to the rescue of an endangered Buffalo institution. (By the way, I did find qualified willing buyers for the endangered Buffalo Statler but the problem is finding qualified willing sellers. Please stay tuned.) Sam Jafari and his wife Nafiza are retiring at the end of this month from the Ellicott Square Hair Salon. Sam founded the enterprise in downtown Buffalo's landmark Ellicott Square Building 43 years ago.

The stunning lobby of the Ellicott Square Building.

No man knows more Buffalo behind-the-scenes information than Sam. 200 of Buffalo's most influential people comprise Sam's hair cutting client roster. Successful developers, entrepreneurs, judges, lawyers, politicians, religious leaders, media celebrities, you name it,  form a dream client list. Most of Sam's clients have been with him for most of the past 43 years and they trust Sam. Sam literally has had the ear of a Buffalo VIP every 40 minutes, every business day for 40 years. If only those salon walls could bloviate!

Last month while I was in his chair, Sam charged me with finding a new owner to carry on his legacy - then he charged me 23 bucks for the haircut. I assume that I was selected for this mission because I am low man on the totem pole (or perhaps barber pole in this case) since I am his least senior client - by any measure or account.

Sam is willing to give away his valuable profitable full-time enterprise to a new owner for free - PROVIDED that the new owner is the RIGHT new owner.

BuffaloBloviator and Sam.

Sam is hanging up his clippers on Friday July 30, 2010. We must find a new proprietor for Ellicott Square Hair Salon and have him installed by that date or else the institution will close. Period. Sam and Nafiza have plane tickets for a 2 year trip to the Middle East.

Interested parties should contact me or Sam.

Sam Jafari 716-854-3504

Howard Goldman 716-833-6111

7/13/2010 The Wife's Buffalo News Story can be seen here:

7/23/2010 Update:
Sam just called with good news. The BuffaloBloviator marketing campaign has successfully yielded a new owner for The Ellicott Square Hair Salon. Legal papers are finalized. Sam's 43 year legacy of trimming our area bigwigs will continue without interruption thanks to new owner, Theresa Schwimmer.  

Sam told me that the Buffalo News story attracted several excellent candidates. Theresa Schwimmer's personality impressed Sam that she is perfect for his established clientele. Theresa has 13 years experience and owns Salon Envy on Main Street in Amherst. 

Sam's last hair cut will be on Friday, July 30, and will be performed on the bigwig head of Congressman Tom Reynolds.

Buffalo Bloviator Classic