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Inspiration Point is reborn!

mums-Buffalo-NYI sometimes wonder if the kind of story I am about to tell is unique to Buffalo; I like to think it is. There has been a bookstore called Inspiration Point at 483 Elmwood near Hodge for about eighteen years. It’s around the corner from my home and I have routinely stopped in to purchase a book or gift and to visit with the owner, Sandy St. Louis, who I happen to know since this is Buffalo. Sandy worked at another independent book store, East West books, before it closed and some of the bookshelves and cabinets came along with her in 1997, when she opened Inspiration Point and then managed the store until recently.

12194836_1104447196247280_516977866913616696_oSince the store is along my do-walking route, it’s a bonus that Sandy is a dog-lover who allowed me to bring my dog inside where she received lots of attention while I shopped and visited, so I could prolong my stay even on a cold day. It is true that I love any shop that I can walk to and especially ones that welcome my dog and sell my book besides, but there’s more to the story.

Inspiration Point is a spiritual bookstore that offers goods and services intended to inspire the heart and mind. There’s always something that jumps out at me to look at, to buy, often to then give away. In the last few years while I was there, Sandy would talk about her retirement plans. On a particular visit, I saw my niece’s friend, Claire, and she expressed her love of the store including a desire to own it one day. A young person’s dream, I thought, and a lovely one at that. The past few months when I drove past the store front, I noticed changes; something new was happening. There was a chair, potted mums and often a saxophone player.

Inspiration-Point-Buffalo-NY-1The next time I went inside, I saw Claire behind the counter. She had bought the store and was eager to show me what she was doing! New life was apparent, although the store still maintained its warmth, its spiritual books, schedule of workshops and classes as well as its dog-friendliness. Claire sometimes brings her dog to work in the afternoons. According to Claire, the core concept of the new Inspiration Point is the understanding that we are physical, emotional and spiritual beings.

Currently, Inspiration Point sells books, journals, crystals and stones, candles and incense. They also offer jute rugs with fairies on them and statues of the Buddha and goddesses. They are now exhibiting art and selling hand-made local items. There are comfortable chairs to sit in, a bench for perusing items on the walls as well as soothing music in the background.

A former waitress, Claire is also a poet who recently read at Rust Belt Books. A friendly face to greet you when you enter the store, Claire was born and raised in Buffalo and she has a can do entrepreneurial spirit. Combining the store’s solid foundation with Claire’s enthusiasm looks like a formula for continued success. Stop by and see what she has to offer for your holiday gift list. At the same time, you can congratulate a new, young business owner on Elmwood and perhaps find inspiration yourself!

Inspiration Point | 483 Elmwood Avenue | Buffalo, New York | (716) 883-8670 | Facebook


Written by Judith Frizlen

Judith Frizlen

Judith Frizlen is the founder of the Rose Garden Early Childhood Center and author of Words for Parents, Words for Teachers and Caregivers and Unpacking Guilt, a Mother's Journey to Freedom. Books and blogposts are on her website at She is a fan of early childhood, urban architecture and the revitalization of Buffalo.

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