Aug. 18, 1987 – March 12, 2015
Cortney Morrison-Taylor – interior designer, artist and Elmwood Avenue entrepreneur – died unexpectedly Thursday in Buffalo. She was 27.
Ms. Morrison-Taylor co-owned Ro, a home-decor boutique at 732 Elmwood, with business partner Hayley Carrow.
“She always wanted to be in business, and she started the business with her childhood friend. Their artistic sensibilities and the fact they were joined at the hip enabled them to get through any adversity. That made them the perfect yin and yang,” said her father, Paul Morrison-Taylor. “They were lifelong friends through thick and thin and they never had a problem. Our heart now goes out to Hayley as well.”
Ms. Morrison-Taylor grew up in East Aurora, where she graduated from Aurora Waldorf School and East Aurora High School. She studied interior design at SUNY Buffalo State, where she was given the Dean’s Award for Excellence.
Before opening Ro, Ms. Morrison-Taylor and Carrow opened Reimagine, a shop specializing in vintage items, when they were fresh out of college.
“We haven’t seen in a long time anyone that young opening recently,” said Carly Battin, executive director of the Elmwood Village Association. “The two had much drive and made their shop a success. It’s hard to open a new business and have longevity that survived and thrived, even after reinventing themselves.”
Ro often showcased the work of local artists and sponsored joint events with fellow businesses.
“Just a couple of weeks ago, they collaborated on a Japanese floral art exhibit and saki tasting with Sato restaurant across the street,” Battin said.
Ms. Morrison-Taylor was the middle child of three sisters and lived in a house “with a good amount of dress-up play. Cortney always did a nice job of putting an outfit together,” said her mother, Jennifer Morrison-Taylor.
Ms. Morrison-Taylor and Carrow designed a room for the 2013 Decorators’ Show House at the Knox Summer Estate. They volunteered for Olmsted Parks, worked on fashion shows and traveled the world in search of merchandise for their shop, Mrs. Morrison-Taylor said.
“She loved everything there was about the Elmwood Village,” her mother said. “She worked hard to promote it. She was a sparkle girl with a twinkle in her eye and always ready for a little good-natured mischief.”
Two memorial services are planned. The first will be from 6:45 to 7:30 a.m. Friday at the Buffalo Ski Club’s lodge, 7707 Lower East Hill Road, Colden, “to experience the sunrise of Cortney’s favorite day of the week and enjoy the beauty that inspired Cortney,” stated the Instagram her family posted on Ro’s website.
From 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, an interactive memorial will take place at Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave.
A memorial sculpture is being planned for a location near Lake Erie.
In addition to her mother and father, survivors include two sisters, Lindsay and Adriane.
– Jane Kwiatkowski Radlich