Main St. Shopping Guide
by Artvoice Staff
For over 40 years Talking Leaves has been opening minds both young and old to the wonderful world of books. This store has a fabulous selection of books, calendars, cards and other gifts and one of the best poetry collections you’ll find anywhere. In the face of corporate giants gobbling up our uniqueness and our homegrown culture it is more important than ever to support our independently owned bookstores and retain our humanity and our sense of community.Queen City Bookstore 3184 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14214 (716) 833-6220 • queencitybook.com
“The King of Comics” has been king for over 40 years. Now with the third generation of this family owned business working there the place will probably see another 40 years. There’s a great selection of vintage comics, new stuff and an expansive collection of graphic novels, many of which are reviewed weekly in Artvoice in the Graphic Traffic column. Anyone who’s been to this store knows owner Emil Novak, Sr. and his crew would bleed comic book ink if you cut them.Parkside Candy 3208 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14214 (716) 833-7540 • parksidecandy.com
Founded in 1927 this is another Buffalo family run business. This iconic shop harkens back to the pre –WWII days when an ice cream parlor candy shop was a glamorous place for a young date. Ornate architecture, wood framed glass cases, fancy chairs, tables and floors made the young feel older and old feel younger. Parkside Candy has a fabulous assortment of boxed chocolates, sponge candy, patties, fudge, sugar free candy, lollipops, seasonal candy and so on. Step into the past at Parkside, an experience you won’t find anywhere else.
Owned by one of the city’s finest guitarists (Vincent James Mastrantonio) Music City opened its doors in 1992 and has been supplying fine instruments, amps and gear at great prices ever since. Stop into the showroom and talk to Vince. If you go on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 29, the store is offering discounts, specials maybe holiday hugs if you’ve been good.
Since 1959 this family run store has been the cream of Buffalo clothing stores. As family owner John Huber said, “we’re not the kind of business that jumps in and out of style, at our core is enduring quality.” Quality is a religion at O’Connell’s and you’ll find such nuggets as cashmere and soft wool scarves in several styles; tweed walking caps and hats; Men and women’s Barbour jackets; flannel-lined khakis; Doeskin blazer and more. We’d need something the size of a Lands End catalogue to continue. Stop in for a gift for someone you love and you won’t be sorry.Record Theatre 3500 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14226 (716) 837-2090 • recordtheatre.com
Independently owned by record store legend Lenny Silver, this Buffalo, NY’s oldest and largest independent record store! With two locations, and over 30,000 square feet of new and previously owned CDs, DVDs, and VINYL LPs, there is something here for everyone. Spend an afternoon CD and vinyl diving and you’ll no doubt discover some gems you never dreamed were available.Tony Walker & Company 5110 Main St., Williamsville, NY 14221 (716) 626-3280 • tonywalker.com
The company website says “Give the Gift of Fashion” and boy do they mean it. There’s not a hot brand out there that you won’t find at Tony Walker. Shoes, boots, cosmetics, outerwear, casual and formal, they’ve got it all. With a young eager staff keeping their finger on the pulse of fashion these folks are never off base. If your looking for high-end fashion skip the mall, you don’t need to go there.
Clayton’s is a shop with long, long history that specializes in gifts you won’t find elsewhere. This is not Toys R Us. Clayton’s has the coolest crafts, stuffed animals, dolls, science, preschool, dress-up, books, games, puzzles, trucks, cars, wooden toys, etc., etc. Most of the staff have been there for years and are both joyous and very knowledgeable.Buffalo Optical 5350 Main Street • Williamsville, NY 14221 (716) 631-3820 buffalooptical.com
Locally owned Buffalo Optical has been in WNY since 1893. While they obviously eye care services like eye exams, glaucoma screenings, contact lenses don’t make attractive gift ideas, etc. Buffalo Optical also offers a selection of popular designer frames including Polo, Versace, Anne Klein, Dolce Gabana, DKNY, and more.
For fashionable designer eyewear Visualeyes unquestionably owns the top spot. They have fabulous taste in what they choose to offer customers and they have exclusive rights on several top lines, which means you won’t find them anywhere but at Visualeyes. Expect to find several European designers and new lines from Xavier Derome, Mykital Mylon, lindber n.o.w. Bruno Chaussignand and tarian–the Parisian hand made frames in limited editions of only 500.
Alex and Ani has to be one of the most interesting new companies to arrive since Starbucks or Ben & Jerry’s. Led by founder and CEO Carolyn Rafaelian the company combines smart business with true artistic vision and a strong mission to spread positive spiritual energy. All product decisions take into account their impact on the environment and the economic health of local and national economies. Everything is well crafted and made in America using traditional symbols and talismans of positive energy. As was pointed out in the recently popular book The Secret, our lives are improved greatly by embracing our positive energy. Alex and Ani create products to help keep you on that path. You’ll find lovely bangles, charms, necklaces, earrings, rings, handbags and “collections”–a group of bangles with charms all harmonious with one theme. Very cool store!Main Street Popcorn 5546 Main St. Williamsville, NY 14221 (716) 632-1713 • mainstpopcorn.com
Here’s a gift no one will expect: Popcorn! Box it up beautifully and you’re sure to see some smiles when the removed gift-wrapping reveals caramel popcorn or one of the other gourmet popcorn flavors offered: Movie Theater, caramel with nuts, caramel with chocolate, gourmet cheese popcorn, kettle corn and so on. Make life fun.
Know someone planning a winter trip to some beach paradise? No need to drape a winter-white Buffalo body in something drab. A gift from Blum’s will get them to the beach in something stylish with popping colors and quality design. Swimwear, resort wear, footwear, they have it all. And you’ll also find attractive lingerie and intimate clothing for when the sun goes down.LeeLee 5444 Main St., Williamsville, NY 14221 (716) 631-0840 • shopleelee.com
Posted on the LeeLee FB page: “Small businesses are the thread that unites our communities.” That is so true and thankfully more and more people are beginning to realize it. LeeLee carries a fine selection of women’s coats, jackets, sweaters, dresses, tops, etc. The store is lovely and charming and so is the staff. Support this small business on Small Business Saturday, November 29.
Antiques make wonderful one-of-a-kind gifts. They have character, reflect our history and unlike reproductions real antiques often come with story. Muleskinner’s owner Ron Korman has a truly gifted eye for acquiring antiques that anyone would be thrilled to place in their home.Sarah’s Vintage & Estate Jewelry 5459 Main St., Williamsville, NY 14221 (716) 633-3738
Antique jewelry is something like Buffalo’s cherished architecture–they just don’t make things as beautiful and intricate as that any more. Owner Sarah Blawat, who has a graduate Gemologist degree, has traveled to England, Paris and across the U.S. searching for unique and inspiring pieces of antique jewelry. WNY benefits from her knowledge and her good taste. Sarah’s carries antique jewelry from the Georgian Era, Victorian, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, as well as Art Nouveau, Deco and Retro pieces. Sarah’s carries costume jewelry starting at $20 up to exceptional vintage diamond rings up to $25,000. You’re sure to find something that fits your taste and your budget.
If there is one store most deserving of your business during the gift giving season it is Ten Thousand Villages. When you purchase from Ten Thousand Villages you not only walk out with a lovely item, you are helping some artisan or craftsperson in a small village of some developing country feed their family. In exchange you get a handmade piece that is usually stunning in its beauty and craftsmanship.
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