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RudeBoyz Artworks opening first store on West Utica in Buffalo

RudeBoyz Artworks will open its first permanent, brick-and-mortar store at 527 West Utica St. in the former Club Utica.

The store will conduct a soft opening Friday and Saturday from noon to 6 p.m.

Owners Qean and Nicola Ballard gave the concept a trial run over the holiday shopping season as one of the temporary shops in Queen City Pop-Up downtown.

The 400-square-foot space will have a similar offering: handmade and original clothing, accessories, purses artwork and dolls. There will be screen printed T-shirts as well as hand-painted clothing featuring artwork by Qean Ballard. The Ballards said Queen City Pop-Up helped them test the market.

“We used our experience as a template for what we should magnify about ourselves,” said Nicole Ballard.

The building housing the store was purchased by PUSH Buffalo’s Buffalo Neighborhood Stabilization Company in 2012 and has undergone extensive renovations. Because the new location used to be a well-known Buffalo club, and Rudeboyz was also the name of a club, the store gives a nod to that history by using a bar for its checkout counter.

The Ballards said they are both “excited” and “terrified” at the same time.

“We really need the community’s support,” said Nicole Ballard.

The most recent iteration of Queen City Pop-Up was the Buffalo Urban Development Corp.’s third. Of the 10 businesses hosted in Queen City Pop-Ups so far, four of them have opened permanent locations on Main Street – Buffalo Adore, Rust Belt Love, Yar Mo’s Muse and MMW Style Studio.