About Ron

ron500pxBuffalo native Ron Cozzi’s love of books started with a board game — chess.

His early honors included Buffalo High School Chess Champion, Erie County Chess Champion and NY State Amateur Chess Champion. When he learned the first book about chess was published in Italy in 1512, he started collecting a few antique chess books of his own. Soon, his collection grew to the 3rd largest —about 5,000 books.

Awaiting a full time job at the USPS, he worked as a substitute for them and took a part-time job with his best supplier of chess books. Privately, he advertised wanting to buy chess books. Those sellers always offered collectible books on other subjects as well and Ron collected them too. On the advice of several people, he started selling books at the flea market on Union at Walden 1-2 days a week. When USPS finally offered him a full-time position, he liquidated his inventory.

Just eighty-nine days into a full-time job with USPS, Ron was laid off.

In 1973, Ron attended his first book fair, the Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair, as a collector. Just two years later, he exhibited for the first time as a vendor at the very same show. He has exhibited at every Rochester Fair since.

Ron then rented a warehouse on Hertel Ave. for two years from 1976-78 followed by a store on Allen St. at Pearl St. for six years from 1978-84.

About that time, the closing of the Bethlehem Steel plant in Lackawanna caused families to leave the area in droves and ask Ron to buy their books. Once again flush with inventory, he bought a larger store on Main St. at Highgate Ave., staying 22 years.

Next, he leased and renovated a warehouse near Broadway, but Rite Aid bought the corner on which it stood.

Then Ron bought an historic building in downtown Buffalo. After six years of renovation for which he received the Joan K. Bozer Award from Working For Downtown, the store opened in 2002.

The present location is the old Platter’s Chocolates building.