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The oldest continuously run toy store in America – Clayton’s – opens location on Hertel

A month ago, I posted about the return of Clayton’s Toy Store to the city. At the time, I wrote:

And for all of the children that will actually get a chance to walk into this wondrous setting, as I did when I was a child, I can already see the eyes widening, the smiles turning upwards, and the sounds of laughter as they romp down Hertel Avenue on their way to their next big shopping adventure.

Little did I know that a short time later that vision would come true. Yesterday, as I walked down Hertel, on my way to the toy store, I was preceded by about 5 children who were all scampering down the sidewalk on their way to a new children’s mecca in North Buffalo. Apparently kids need only hear the words “toy store” to get them all revved up for a grand adventure. And yes, Clayton’s is a grand adventure.

I followed the youngsters inside (it was grand opening day), upon which time they darted to and fro, in search of their prized toys. For me, I took my time, examining all of the unfamiliar toys that were very different from when I was little. There was Gummy Candy Lab, Geckobot and Gyrobot… so many fanciful objects of interest.

At the same time, there were definitely some nostalgic throwbacks, which I was very happy to see. I came across toy cars, plushies, jigsaw puzzles, Stretch It (like Slime, I imagine), and even Lite-Brite!

I actually really enjoyed my kidless visit to Clayton’s, because it brought back a lot of fond memories when I used to frequent to toy store when it was on Elmwood (see back story).

Today, store owners Kellie Klos and Tera McElligott and doing a smashing job of bringing toys to the urban populace. As the oldest continuously run toy store in America (105 years), this is a pretty big deal for Buffalo.

Ribbon cutting

“We are so happy to be back in the city with a second location,” said McElligott. “Our friends and neighbors here have been so welcoming and we’re excited to celebrate Neighborhood Toy Store Day here on Hertel Avenue.”

“As Hertel Avenue continues to thrive as a shopping destination, I am excited for the opening of a Clayton’s Toy Store,” said Councilmember Joel Feroleto. “The North Buffalo neighborhood is already thrilled for this new addition and co-owners Kellie and Tera are just as excited to be a part of the community.”

My biggest takeaway from my visit, other than the city of Buffalo having a toy shop again, was how expertly and thoughtfully the shop was curated. Not only is there something for every child, there are also a lot of “thinking” games that are fun,  while challenging youngsters to use their brains. In a world where video games are king (and queen), with the Metaverse being rolled out in the near future, it was refreshing to see toys, games, etc., that were not dumbed down. I believe that this bodes well for any family that pays a visit to the remarkable toy store, with an equally remarkable story.

Clayton’s Toy Store | 1396 Hertel Avenue | Buffalo NY | (716)939-3000

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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