Among Old Town Scottsdale art galleries and trendy restaurants is Buffalo Collection, a furniture and accessories store whose story begins with a herd of bison on a Colorado ranch.
In 1999, as part of a land restoration project, a herd of 300 bison were placed on an overgrazed cattle ranch to bring back the native grasses. After the number of bison grew too large to be sustained by the land, a meat business was started and the hides were tanned and stored. A fourth-generation furniture builder’s visit to the ranch sparked the development of a furniture business and before long, the first Buffalo Collection showroom opened in Aspen, Colorado.
Michael and Laura Levenberg opened the Scottsdale showroom in 2011 and after the original owner retired in 2014, the couple purchased the business. The Levenbergs have been in the art gallery business for a combined 35 years and say it was a natural progression to merge the leather furniture and home furnishings business with an art gallery.
What products do you offer?
“We specialize in unique, one-of-a kind, handcrafted heirloom quality furniture, custom-made to order in America.
“People can choose their sofa or chair frame style and select from about 50 colors and tan ages of our all-American Bison leather. They can also pick from a variety of wood stain colors and
finishes, as well as nail heads or our signature hand-braided details. Choice of seat cushion firmness is also available. We create the perfect piece for your home or office that will not only be the most comfortable but is built to last a lifetime.
“Additionally, we represent over 50 artists and craftsman from throughout the Western states, specializing in woodworking, sculpture, painting, lighting, pillows, etc.”
What do you think would surprise people most about the furniture industry?
“Sadly, the vast majority of furniture these days is mass-produced in China and made to be disposable. The other negative is that the working conditions that are being supported by purchasing that furniture
are terribly tragic. However, if the working
conditions improved dramatically, it would also dramatically increase the costs of the pieces in the stores, yet they would still be made poorly and disposable.”
What do you wish everyone knew about furniture?
• “You definitely get what you pay for. The mass-produced inexpensive pieces made in China are built to last for a very short period of time with the intention that you will have to be out shopping for furniture again within a year or two or up to a few years depending on the ‘quality.’”
• “The quality of materials greatly determine the level of comfort. Mass-produced pieces typically use the poorest quality of materials therefore the ‘best’ day of comfort is the first day and it will decline everyday thereafter. In sharp contrast, heirloom quality furniture gets better with each day.”
• “Paying more for heirloom-quality pieces of furniture not only enhances your life by providing comfortable seating and preventing unnecessary additions to landfill, but it allows you the chance to have memories built into the pieces that are able to be handed down to family for generations.”
What do you think makes you
successful in this industry?
“We are a family business and work with all our clients on a very personal, one-on-one basis, and treat everyone the way we would like to be treated, with courtesy and respect.
“We personally select every piece we show in the gallery, making it a very curated collection, which is ever-changing as pieces find new homes and new selections arrive. Also, since we know all
our artisans and craftsman personally, commissioning pieces for our clients is a
wonderful process for everyone involved.”
What’s your most memorable project?
“There have been several, for sure, but one that stands out is when some clients in Malibu, California, called and wanted to see some new pieces in their home. We said no problem, loaded them up and a few days later drove there from Scottsdale. We arrived to a lovely dinner awaiting us and had some laughs together. We accepted their hospitality and later when we transformed their home, they loved everything and the transformation so much that they invited us to do the same for their home in Aspen. And boy, was that a story! We have become great friends and always look forward to
spending time together.”
What organizations are you involved with?
“We are members of Local Arizona, supporting local businesses. We also are members of ASID, the American Society of Interior Designers.”
What’s your favorite part about what you do?
“It is most certainly the people we get to meet and work with every day. Whether
it’s the people that visit us in our showroom gallery or the artists and craftsmen
that we visit in their workspaces throughout the Western states, or the personal relationships we develop and that turn into friendships over the years. We are truly honored to be able to do what we love, helping people create and finish their homes into spaces that they enjoy spending time in, whether alone or with family.” JN
7044 E. Fifth Ave., Scottsdale 85251