Clock could strike midnight for Elmwood sign shop

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – You could call Clarence Carnahan the last man standing–the only business that is still open, on the southeast corner of Elmwood and Forest avenues–at least for the time being.

Carnahan is fighting a developer to keep his sign shop going at the site of a planned apartment complex, as demolition crews get ready to bulldoze a row of old properties prior to construction, “So they basically scared everybody out. So I held my ground, I held the line.”

But that line seems to be getting thinner by the week, and the cavalry won’t be riding in to save the day, as the Elmwood Village business owner’s legal options seem to be running out.

Chason Affinity is razing several properties along Elmwood and Forest avenues to give way for a 40-unit luxury apartment complex, and Carnahan was originally supposed to move ENS Signs out back in July.

“I am just standing up for my rights and I love this neighborhood. I want to see it preserved, and I am reviewing all my legal options to stay here.”

But time seems to be running out for Carnahan. A spokesman for the developer said Carnahan agreed to move out by November 1–a date that has come and gone–but he is going back to court to ask for another delay, or even an order allowing him to stay.

Carnahan likens the apartment plans to a fairy tale, but in his court fight, the clock is about to strike midnight, and Cinderella’s glass slipper isn’t working out.

“It just doesn’t make sense, where you want to take historic buildings and knock them down to put in condos. Again, it is a Cinderella story, it is just the shoe doesn’t fit.”

Carnahan says it is not a fight he asked for, “You know when somebody pushes you around, tries to take advantage of you, you’ve just got to hold that line. So I did not let them do it to me. I just said I am going to stay and and we are going to fight it out in the courts.”

Carnahan has a date in Buffalo City Court Wednesday morning, and a spokesman for the developer said he just wants the judge to enforce their agreement—for ENS Signs to close now.

With time running out, Carnahan has chosen a new location for his sign business–staying on Elmwood Avenue–but it is outside of Elmwood Village. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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