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Buffalo Rising’s 2019 Gift Guide — unique, unexpected, and interesting gifts in the Queen City

With the production of this guide, we hope to promote the unique products and services available in our city to those seeking the best holiday gifts for family and friends, or even yourself. This holiday season, these local businesses will help you and your loved ones live their best life.

A.P. Bridal

2818 Delaware Avenue | Kenmore, NY 14217
(716) 259-9255 | Website | Facebook

According to, Christmas Day is the most popular day for couples to become engaged, followed by, Valentine’s Day. However, the top SEVEN days are during the holiday season, which is why we included A.P. Bridal in this year’s Gift Guide. A.P Bridal focuses on catered shopping experience in a boutique setting for style-savvy brides who are looking to enjoy every step of the wedding process. Alyssa Palmeri’s shop was designed with the bride in mind to make sure they always feels at home with no pressure, allowing them to choose their dream dress!  With an abundance of natural, bright lighting, the shop really lets the dresses speak for themselves.  There are so many different designers and styles that brides are able to choose from, and many beautiful accessories including veils, hair clips, and laces belts that can really bring everything together. Each bride, along with her whole party, get the entire shop to themselves.  The party can enjoy glasses bubbly and can play whatever music they are feeling to make sure they are having the most fun possible.  In addition to a great atmosphere, you will also be consulted to help find the dress you are looking for.  By explaining the style, shape, and patterns you desire, Alyssa will take your needs and hand select the dress that best fits your style.  Brands include Lillian West, Sincerity by Justin Alexander, Sweetheart by Justin Alexander, Ti Adora, and Elly Haute Couture. With a lot of love being shared around the holiday season, keep A.P Bridal in mind for those who are engaged, soon to be engaged, or renewing their vows!

Buffalo Eye Center

3750 Delaware Avenue | Kenmore, New York 14217
(716) 874-2455 | Website | Facebook

At the Buffalo Eye Center, they take pride in offering trusted eye care services to Buffalo of all ages in a relaxed, family-friendly environment. Their optometrist office provides a wide range of services that enable them to care for your eyes over the course of a lifetime. Buffalo Eye Center is a state-of-the-art optical store with a spacious and vast show room! Conveniently located right in their ophthalmologist office on 3570 Delaware Ave in Kenmore, you will find more than 1,600 designer eyeglass frames, prescription (and non-prescription) sunglasses, contact lenses, and more!  With Brands all over the world,  whether you’re looking for something chic and simple or statement-making style they have all a variety of options. Including trending and popular styles, like famous frames worn by hollywood A-List, and influencers in New York City, LA, or Toronto. If you want a new pair of designer frames or you need to get set up with your very first pair, they are there to help guide you in the right direction. The Buffalo Eye Center provides professionals in their optical store who will help find the right pair of frames based on the shape of your face, your desired budget, and your style and preferences. Their brands include:

Care Cases

P.O. Box 395 | East Amherst, NY 14051
(716) 465-8917 | Website

It is an unfortunate reality that for their health and safety, children sometimes need to be placed away from their current guardian. Whether the placement is temporary or eventually permanent, with family or with strangers, these children often struggle with a range of complicated emotions. This is made especially difficult during the holiday season when TV, school, and Social Media are filled with messages of family, gratitude, and togetherness. Making these situations especially difficult, is that often the children are, for their own safety, removed quickly from their environments. This means depending on their age, they have little time or ability to pack their belongings. At the time of removal, it is often not known how long they will be gone. This is where organizations Care Cases of Western New York provide much needed assistance. Care Cases of Western New York provide high-quality bags filled with new age-appropriate items to meet the immediate needs of foster children in Western New York. Sue Snyder, Care Cases said, “The cases are packed with all the essentials but we also try to customize the bags, too. Each bag is marked with a tag personalized with the child’s name, and on the other side a note, ‘You matter.’ We want every child to know that the bag is theirs and that it was packed with love.”

“When most children are removed from their home, they receive a trash bag for their personal items. Since Care Cases was established, we have replaced more than 1,500 trash bags for foster children in Western New York. We do this through community-wide fundraising and packing days,” Paul Snyder added. Anyone interested in donating a Care Case to a child this holiday season can do so by clicking here.

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, Erie County has a critical need. Foster families can be individuals or couples. If any Erie County resident is interested in obtaining information about becoming a foster family, please call 858-7274.

CBD ReLeaf Center

818 Elmwood Avenue | Buffalo, New York 14222
(716) 322-0861 | Website | Facebook

While the holiday season is magical, fun, full of spirit and charity it also comes with high stress to the heart, mind and body. This year be the relative or friend who gives the give of tranquility, relaxation, and pain relief. The CBD Releaf Center, located on 818 Elmwood Avenue, offers a wide variety of CBD products right in the heart of Buffalo. CBD oil is commonly used to help treat insomnia, anxiety, and physical body aches and pain all without the affects of THC. There is NO THC in their products nor will any CBD product impair your ability to function. In fact, for some people it may improve their ability to go about their daily lives by providing relief from the body’s physical stressors. The CBD Releaf Center CBD is home to some of the highest quality CBD products from energy capsules to gummies and oils to lotions and gels. There are even oils, sprays, and treats for pets and all products are made right here in the USA! So, whether you are looking to help a friend find relief, or even their cat or canine, look no further than CBD ReLeaf Center. You have the option of stopping in everyday from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm or browsing their store online at Find the CBD product right for you loved one this season at the CBD ReLeaf Center!

CowPök Piercing & Tattoo Gallery

177 Elmwood Ave | Buffalo, New York 14201
(716) 885-0252 | Website | Facebook

Are you looking for a more unconventional gift this holiday season? Do you have someone in your life that loves to express themselves through tattoos and piercings? Than Cow Pok is the place to visit! Cow Pok is the premier spot for both tattoos, high quality piercings jewelry with two easily accessible locations in Buffalo and Williamsville that will be open 7 days a week leading up to the major holidays. The Buffalo location is located directly in the heart of Allentown on 177 Elmwood and the Williamsville location is located on 5651 Main St. They are home to the Cow Pok teams of tattooers and piercers ready to brighten the day with the gift of self-art. To make things even better both locations are offering a weekend of major deals and gifting opportunities starting with the always anticipated Black Friday Sale. This Black Friday Cow Pok is offering 40% off all jewelry! In addition to that deal, for every $100 spent in store on Small Business Saturday, the purchaser will automatically be entered into a raffle to win a $250 gift card! You can also be sure to lookout for numerous deals on Cyber Sunday on their newly launched online store! Not only can you cash in on these great deals but Cow Pok is also offering free gift wrapping all season long. This way you can avoid any gift wrap mishaps and let the professionals handle your gift presentation.

The Flo

228 Allen Street | Buffalo, New York 14201
(716) 770-1000 | Website | Facebook

Picture this: laying on your back, sun peaking behind the clouds, a soft breeze blowing as you float on your back in the pool alone while your family is out. Sounds rather peaceful? Now take the idea of floating peacefully and put it into the concept of therapy. This is where the idea for float centers comes from. If you were already looking into gifting a massage or spa day, perhaps you need to consider The Flo located at 228 Allen. The Flo is the ONLY full sensory deprivation float center in Western New York and they provide flotation tanks in a light and sound free environment. Each chamber contains two feet of water kept at 95 degrees with 1300lbs of Epsom salt dissolved into the water. At the Flo the water in each tank goes through a super cleanse process to ensure that the chamber is unspoiled for each customer. This flotation therapy may be perfect for the friend or family member that is constantly on the go and under a lot of stress whether physically or mentally. While floating in one of Flo’s tanks the senses are free of distractions allowing for the mind to wander and encouraging endorphins to be released. The endorphins help to destress the mind while the Espom salt helps provide weightlessness to aid in pain relief from muscular tension or structural pain. Everyone enjoys a good spa day, so give the gift of relaxation from Flo!

VIDEO: Flotation Tanks and Psychedelics, Oh My!

Holiday Valley Resort

6557 Holiday Valley Road | Ellicottville, New York 14731
(716) 699-2345 | Website | Facebook

Hands down, the most picturesque winter gift to possibly give is the gift of lift tickets and a mountain lodge stay at Holiday Valley in Ellicottville, NY. If you have an avid skier or snowboarder in your life or want to get a young one started in winter sports, lift tickets, lessons and lodging at Holiday Valley are ideal. This is the foremost winter getaway resort in Western New York that boasts 2 unique lodging properties as well as several rental condominiums, townhouses and chalets. The Inn at Holiday Valley and the Tamarack Club are both located slopeside and have an indoor/outdoor heated pool and hot tub for guests. Whether you want to have fun outdoors or in, Holiday Valley has it all. At the resort you can rent skis or a snowboard, get one-on-one lessons, visit the brewhouse at the Tamarack Club, or hit the Ellicottville Oasis Spa. Not only does Holiday Valley have activities for the winter but the warmer seasons also pack a punch. Ellicottville is home to an 18 hole golf course, Sky High Aerial Adventure Park, Spruce Lake, two half marathons, summer and fall festivals, and a beer and wine festival. And the Village is chock full of quaint shops and unique restaurants that make a trip to Holiday Valley a vacation. This resort is truly a great spot for fun for those of all ages. My advice if you feel like spoiling someone this Christmas? Sign them up to stay the weekend at Holiday Valley; they’ll always remember their experience.

Lexington Co-Op Markets

807 Elmwood Avenue | Buffalo, New York 14222
(716) 886-2667 | Website | Facebook

Do you know someone who loves to shop for groceries and wants their dollars to impact the local economy? Lexington Co-op Markets are natural grocery stores with a local, organic and seasonal focus offering the freshest, most delicious foods. Fifty five cents of every dollar gets returned back to the Buffalo economy. And everyone is welcome to shop there. The co-op offers the comfort foods you love right alongside the staples your family needs. The fresh produce is from local and organic farms; the meats are raised sustainably and the bulk department offers a variety of staple pantry ingredients. You can buy as little or as much as you’d like. You can even bring your own containers to save on packaging waste. The Co-op’s Lexi’s Kitchen makes soups, salads and sandwiches to eat in our take out daily with the greatest ingredients. Stop in for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Daily, the co-ops bakers, best baked goods from scratch in their stores. The Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Flourless Cakes and Rice Krispy Treats are legendary. A gift card to Lexington Co-op is the perfect stocking stuffer for the foodie or locavore on your list. There are two locations; in the Elmwood Village at 807 Elmwood and at 1678 Hertel Ave near Starin. Both are friendly, warm and welcoming to all with, parking and open hours from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm daily.

Missy Kennedy Photography

(716) 472-2368 | Website | Facebook

Looking for a gift for the pet lover in your life? Missy Kennedys Photography is the perfect choice.  With an extensive history in pet photography, Missy really goes above and beyond for her clients.  She admitted to never walking into a photo shoot with any expectations because she never knows what they day will bring.  Missys goal is to catch the spirit of the animal and bring the characteristics that the pet owners love about their pets to life through her photography. Missy goes above and beyond for her clienst and has many different props and set ups to get the perfect photo!  She even has helpers, who eventually get photoshopped out, assist her in getting the right angle.  From action shots of a dog catching their ball, to a tarantula crawling on a hand, to a whole litter of puppies on a winter sled, Missy has done it all.  Her customers are also normally greeted into her home studio by her two dogs, King and Daisy May, who are both rescues. In addition to work she does for her clients, Missy also helps animals receive their forever home.  She has been volunteering for the SPCA of Erie County for almost ten years by taking photos of the animals that are available for adoption.  Missy has worked with all animals, and is able to make animals like tarantulas and turtles look soft and approachable. With a high spirit, friendly personality, and a true love for what she does, Missy is the perfect person to provide the gift of pet photography this holiday season.


732 Elmwood Avenue | Buffalo, New York 14222
(716) 240-9387 | Website | Facebook

Are you are looking for a very personal gift that keeps on giving year-round? Look no further than Ro´ located at 732 Elmwood in Buffalo. Ro´ is a design company that offers design and styling consultations, custom built furniture, as well as offering their own home collection to shop. If you have that friend or family member in the midst of renovations or simply are looking to update the style of their home whether just a room or several, Ro´s consulting services are the way to offer that helping hand this holiday season. They have capability to interior design, stage homes and apartments, and provide photo shoot styling. Ro´ also offers custom furniture as well as custom cushions and pillows. Your gift recipient will be able to select the medium of this custom furniture and work out all the details of their new home addition. Once the idea is decided and the design is drawn up their creation will be brought to life! For those who would rather shop furniture Ro´ offers an Old Norse calm and tranquil Danish inspired furniture collection. Their contemporary furniture is available in shop, online and in some cases limited to whole sale clients only. There are also special trade discounts for the designers, architects and developers in your life. So remember if you are searching for that gift the never stops giving look no further than Ro´ for that lifetime gift for your loved ones.

Sole Man

565 Elmwood Avenue | Buffalo, NY 14222
716-836-6464 | Website | Facebook

Sole Man owner, Brian Gavigan is an expert leatherworker, who can repair and rebuild shoes, shorten belts, replace zippers, he’s even assisted local equestrians with small saddle repairs. He can do all of this and more in-house. But Gavigan’s true passion is in finding good quality vintage leather shoes that he then “rebuilds, redesigns, and re-crafts.” Sole Man carries a variety of timeless styles from all over the world. Some new, and some that are over 50 years old, he might even challenge you to guess which ones, “fine leather will last you a lifetime, and a well fitting shoe can change your life.” He’s also well-known among shoe collectors from around the globe who want to add some modern flair to their vintage finds – add or restore colored soles with matching laces! Another popular change is taking a client’s single colored leather shoe and creating a popular two-tone or “Ombre” look. He can fix heels that have been torn up by metal grates or repair chew marks from your new puppy. So wander down to Sole man, before throwing out your favorite shoes! At Sole man you can expect old world craftsmanship with new world taste. Check them out if you are looking for a classic quality gift for men, women, and kids. Or better yet, buy a gift card. Then your loved one can come in, be fitted, and maybe add some “extras,” like colored soles to their new shoes!

TreeHouse Toy Store

793 Elmwood Avenue | Buffalo, New York 14222
(716) 882-1322 | Website | Facebook

Do you have children to shop for this holiday season? Or perhaps you have to shop for an adult still young at heart? Consider the classic gift or toy for the children in your life by stopping into TreeHouse Toys. Located at 793 Elmwood this toy store has been locally owned and operated since 1996! Treehouse has supplied toys big and small from puzzles and games to stuffed animals and building blocks to sleds and rockets, TreeHouse Toys has it all. There are gifts for a multitude of age groups from infants to young adults. Whether you’re looking for developmental toys for the toddler in your life or searching for that perfect dollhouse for your little cousin, you can find it there. TreeHouse has an eclectic style shop with a home-like feel that you can find different types of toys in every nook or cranny. Stop in to pick up that special gift this holiday season or visit to browse the multitude of toys TreeHouse has to offer! The online store can make things convenient for those that don’t have the time to stop in and browse the shop. Or take advantage of the TreeHouse take-out service where you can order online and pick-up the gift on your way home after a long day at work. Make sure you don’t forget about the complimentary gift wrapping at checkout!

This content was produced in collaboration between Buffalo Rising, its authors, and the retail partners listed above. The facts and opinions published in Buffalo Rising express solely the thoughts and opinions of our respective authors.

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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