WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) — In a day and age where many purchases are made with a simple click of a button, there remains something special about the hands-on experience of shopping in a physical store.
It’s that classic approach to shopping that has established Clayton’s Toys as a go-to spot for Western New York families for more than a century.
“There is something so important about touching, feeling, seeing and connecting,” says Kellie Klos, a co-owner of Clayton’s, “You are not going to get that online, you are not going to get that feeling, or excitement.”
Excitement is easy to come by at Clayton’s. Customers will find thousands of items for both the young, and young at heart. Whether it’s the latest board game, puzzle, science kit or doll, you’d be hard pressed not to find something for everyone on your list, with the kiddos always top of mind.
“There really aren’t many other places where a kid can just come in, with their little money, and be a kid,” says Tera McElligott, who is also a co-owner, “That’s my favorite part.”
McElligott and Klos, both long-time employees at the store, purchased Clayton’s Toys in 2015 with the hope of carrying on a tradition that dates back 107 years.
Clayton’s Toys was originally started in 1916 as a doll hospital on Elmwood Avenue by Katherine Driscoll. Mrs. Driscoll brought on Elanor Clayton to help expand the business to include toys and gifts. When Mrs. Driscoll passed away, Elanor Clayton bought the store and renamed it Clayton’s.
It remains the oldest toy store in Buffalo and now continues to serve generations of customers at 5225 Main Street in Williamsville.
“When I started here there was a group of moms always coming in with their kids,” says McElligot, “Now they are coming in as grandmas. It happens,” she said with a smile.
And whether it’s grandmother’s shopping for their grandchildren, or kids shopping on their own, every customer receives complimentary gift wrapping. It’s a service that adds that final special touch.
“It’s a complete experience,” says Klos, “I’m not going to lie we all love wrapping too. You wouldn’t work here if you didn’t. So I think everyone here takes a sense of pride with a package and how they present that purchase to the customer.”
Clayton’s Toys opened a second location at 1396 Hertle Avenue in 2021 and employs around 15 people between the two stores.
McElligott and Klos have a combined 40 years of experience in toys between them and the team behind all the fun has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
“I think we are some of the few people that really love what we do,” says Klos, “We love our jobs, coming in is a joy, customers are a joy.”
“I hope (someday) that we can find someone who loves it as much as we do, and that it keeps going for generations,” added McElligott.