‘We Never Close’: Elmwood corner store became refuge during ’22 blizzard

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — If you’ve ever walked or driven down Elmwood Avenue, you’ve seen the red, neon glowing sign on the side of Cameron’s 24-Hour Store. Through the December, 2022 blizzard’s hurricane-force winds and blinding snow — the store stood true to its name.

For 26 years, Michael Moretti has been a familiar face behind the counter of Cameron’s 24-Hour Store on the corner of Elmwood and Bird Avenues. He grew up in Buffalo and knows what a typical snowstorm looks like. That was until Mother Nature unleashed on the city this time last year.

“The situations that happened and that you can’t really put into words,” Moretti told News 4. “I’ve never seen anything like that as far as a storm — the intensity for so long. People were just in desperate need for somewhere to go, somewhere to get some calm.”

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The monster blizzard forced most stores to close.

Cameron’s neon sign reading “We Never Close” served as a lighthouse along Elmwood Avenue guiding the stranded to safety.

“There was some people in desperate need, I mean literally on the floor out with frostbite or hypothermia,” said Moretti.

About five employees and a dozen others took refuge in the store, sleeping in the aisles.

Moretti said he did what he could to help those badly injured by the storm.

“Just trying to help, get ’em back, get their limbs functioning again. It was moments like that when you’re here overnight,” added Moretti.

As he reflects one year later, Moretti can’t help but thank the store owners and his loyal customers.

“Just all the support that they’ve shown and the appreciation, because that’s what really hits the heart,” Moretti said. “Especially when you get to the holiday season because I’m never going to forget it.”

What does the “We Never Close” slogan mean to Moretti?

“It just means determination,” he said. “‘We Never Close tough.’ Pure determination to be here for the community. I think that means a lot when a lot of other stores couldn’t do it.”

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Patrick Ryan is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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