BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) – As the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center prepares for its 23rd year of the “World’s Largest Disco”, Miss Josie’s Antique’s in Kenmore is capitalizing on the market’s demand for retro clothes.
“We started 13 years ago and a friend of mine said to me ‘You know, I’ve got all this 70’s stuff. You’ve got this 70’s stuff. This World’s Largest Disco thing is coming up. Let’s do a little sign out front and just put our stuff in the shop.'” James Walaski-Miller, the owner of Miss Josie’s, told WBEN. “We had such a small selection that very first year and we sold out. People were standing in line…It has just grown and grown and grown to the point where we’re now known as the disco store. I have had customers that have been coming to me for 13 years.”
Walking into the store the last few weeks is a far cry from the usual vintage clothes, accessories, glassware, Chinaware, and other items customers are accustomed to seeing most other times during the year. As you walk into the store located on the corner of Delaware and LaSalle in Kenmore, you’re met with a plethora of 70’s gear from dresses, shirts, or “polyester central” as Walaski-Miller explained.
“Clothing-wise, this is the busiest time of year in our shop,” he said. “Our outfits range from $35 for a simple dress up to like $175 for the most elaborate things. We sell 5,000 to 8,000 outfits in a six-week period. That’s huge for the local economy and that doesn’t include the hotels, the bars, the limo services. I don’t think local people realize how much spillover business there is and how good this is for the local economy.”
Tickets for the World’s Largest Disco are already sold out. The event saw 7,000 disco enthusiasts dance at the convention center and the nu mbers are expected to be similar this year.
If you’re going, Walaski-Miller recommends butterfly collars. He noted many women go for the short-sequin look but that’s not really the style.
“If you go back and look back at pictures of Studio 54 it was very long, very flowy,” he said. “You dressed your best to go to the disco. The World’s Largest Disco has gone from being a true disco party to being a super fun, 1970’s decade party. We do everything from the Brady Bunch fun look to High Disco.”
For guys, flair pants need to be “tight, tight, right”.
“I will say 70’s clothes are very flattering for men in the pants,” he said. “It shows their assets very well. A nice, long, silky polyster long-sleeved shirt with a great pattern on it. We do leisure suits. We have three-piece suits and all of our stuff is 100 percent authentic and it’s all local.”
“It’s always jumpsuits for ladies,” he said. “The really sexy, fun, jumpsuits. Low-cut is very big. Side-boob, the cleavage, that’s where it’s all at. The nice bell bottoms to them. I’ve been selling a lot of pants and shirts. I have a huge selection of the polyester pants and a great selection of shirts.”
The store is open on Friday from 10 a.m. until the last customer leaves. On Saturday, he’ll be there until the last person leaves for the World’s Largest Disco.
“I’m like Cinderella’s godfather,” he said. “I get to dress everyone, have a great time doing it. Then I go home, open a bottle of wine, and watch the news to see if I can spot my outfits on TV.”