My Cuzin Vintage resurrects 90’s vintage gear

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My Cuzin Vintage resurrects 90’s vintage gear

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What was once merely a collecting hobby between friends, two local entrepreneurs have turned into a full-fledged business near the Allentown district at 168 Elmwood Ave.

My Cuzin Vintage is home to an expansive collection of pristine vintage sports gear, retro clothing brands and a growing selection of sneakers, making it easy for almost anyone to find something that tickles their fancy. This buy, sell, trade storefront idolizes 90’s style apparel and there is no shortage rare finds.

Derek Hoffman and Vincent Spano, co-owners of My Cuzin Vintage, have been great friends since their middle school days and started collecting together at a young age.

“Probably around 12 is when I really started collecting. Bills gear, anything cool. I grew up in the 90’s, and then my mom threw out all those clothes and then I was like man, I really want that stuff back,” Hoffman said. “So, I would go thrifting and things like that for fun so we kind of just developed this whole collection of things.”

As their collection of vintage sports apparel grew, the two friends began to look for a way to showcase their finds. That’s where the power of social media prevailed. Hoffman and Spano began to post their prized possessions on Facebook and Instagram, and in turn, generated a lot of buzz. People began to inquire about the retro gear, and from there, the idea of a business began to take form.

Hoffman and Spano attribute much of their success to social media.

“Social media played the biggest role. We had this collection of all this gear and we first put it on Instagram as a catalogue. Just to show the world what we got, and then people just started asking. Instagram and Facebook were huge for our development, we wouldn’t exist without them,” Hoffman said.

While the two friends and partners don’t have as much time for thrifting as they used to, they have found other ways to keep the 90’s gear flowing aplenty.

“We still get up Saturday mornings in the summer and Sunday mornings and kind of do our own thing. But we do buy, sell, trade. So, a lot of people bring things in now. We also have a group of like five guys that come in with bags and suitcases of different things, they’ll go around for a couple weeks and bring back all different sorts of clothes,” Hoffman said.

The buy, sell, trade business model that My Cuzin Vintage uses offers a different experience for customers and a new way to acquire vintage clothing that has been lost in the transit of time, or make some quick cash. The items brought in to be bartered must meet certain requirements.

“We’re looking for pretty much anything from the 90’s, strictly late 80’s and 90’s vintage gear. Obviously, we don’t want anything too beat up. My rule of thumb is if you think it’s cool, then we are probably going to think it’s pretty cool also. Different brands, different teams, anything really. Even sneakers and other streetwear,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman offered much praise to the location of the store and how they have been received in the area. My Cuzin Vintage resides very close to Allentown, which is known for its progressive nature and diversity. Allentown is historically known as a creative part of Buffalo, making a great location for this not so standard business. “Elmwood just fit the vibe,” Hoffman said, “people in the area responded really well to it.”

Hoffman and Spano took a hobby and turned it into a business. There was never any kind of business model followed, it just kind of took off, and quickly. “The ball kept rolling and we were just like let’s do it, let’s have some fun. It’s pretty cool to see, I never thought 10 years ago that I would be owning my own store,” Hoffman said.

The two partners didn’t stop there, they also created a brand called Everything Buffalo. Hoffman described this as their brand and it can be found inside of My Cuzin Vintage as well. This brand makes several different clothing items and accessories that reflect Buffalo pride and even spoofs major visual designs such as the Stranger Things logo printed on a t-shirt which reads “Everything Buffalo”, as opposed to the actual Stranger Things logo.

My Cuzin Vintage aims to cater to just about everyone that walks through their door.

“The store is pretty sweet because it is so diverse. You can have a family shopping for Bills gear and then you can have a sneakerhead standing next to each other, and you just never know what’s going to come through that door,” Hoffman said.

No matter your favorite team, brand, or shoe, My Cuzin Vintage offers a wide array of retro clothing that is back in style today. Pop in, peek around and take a step back in time.

Email: silviaaw01@mail.buffalostate.edu

Twitter: @AlexSilvia716

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