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BRAND NAMES SALES CLOSING MAIN STREET STORE AFTER 40 YEARS

Brand Names Sales Inc., a catalog showroom retailer, will close its store at 2749 Main St. in Buffalo after 40 years at that location.

Richard P. Tamulski, president and chief executive officer of the 16-store, Buffalo-based company, said disappointing sales figures and problems with the building's physical layout led to the closing decision.

"We took a realistic look at exactly what that particular location offered in operational size, parking capacity and overall accessibility," Tamulski said. "And in terms of the new goals of service and selection . . . we felt strongly that our customers expect and deserve more."

Brand Names Marketing Director Amy Carpenter said the closing does not signal an end to the company's plans in Buffalo. Rather, the retailer views it as an opportunity to relocate the store and possibly open additional city stores, she said.

"We are actively pursuing another city site to move this store," she said. "We're looking downtown, as well as in the Elmwood Avenue area and in the University section in North Buffalo."

The closing of the store at Main near Amherst Street is billed as "phase one" of plans to re-energize the local retail chain. The company, which will continue to run 13 catalog showroom outlets and three furniture galleries, is also seeking other ways to grow the business.

Brand Names will begin a liquidation sale at the Main Street store on Saturday, with no set date for doors to close. The store's 23 workers, who include six full-time staffers, will be put at the top of the list for openings at other Brand Names locations.

Since Tamulski became majority owner of the local company in early 1997, the retailer has implemented a number of changes aimed at freshening the catalog showroom concept to be more competitive.

In addition to opening Brand Names Furniture Galleries, the company debuted a 25,000-square-foot prototype store on Maple Road in Amherst. It puts more of the store's merchandise on the sales floor, where customers can check it out.

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