Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart

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The Buffalo News
Buffalo, New York

My View: Hobby shop’s closing signals end of an era
By My View | Published October 12, 2017

By Carol Ann Gleason

Two of my grandsons, ages 10 and 12, were at my house last month. The Buffalo News was on the kitchen table. While going through the paper in search of the most important pages – the comics – they came across a headline: “Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart has closed.”

We read the news of the hobby shop closing with surprise and sadness. The boys and I talked about our memories of being at the hobby shop.

When Grandad and Grandma visit from Oklahoma, the hobby shop is the first place they take the children. Not only did the boys have fun racing their cars, they knew Grandad and Grandma would add to their collection of cars.

Their little sister would enjoy looking at the craft items and doll furniture. She also knew that she would be bringing something home.

Spending time at the hobby shop was a whole family event.

After reading the article, the boys realized the hobby shop would be opened the following Saturday. It would be one last day to reminisce, purchase cars and race their cars on the track. The plan was made!

On Saturday morning, the grandchildren would come to my house for breakfast, then Papa would drive them to the hobby shop at 9 a.m. I made them pancakes with maple syrup and whipped cream.

The boys had their money and knew what cars they wanted to buy. They were full of anticipation and excitement during the 20-minute drive.

Upon arrival there already was a line. The boys knew where the cars they wanted would be. Alas, even at that early hour, there was only one left! And that Indy car became their prized possession.

Time to cash out meant waiting in the long line that meandered up and down the aisles of the shop. They waited patiently like the other enthusiastic customers. The crowd was friendly and seemed to radiate a quiet and peaceful thanks for having one last day to visit the hobby shop.

As my grandsons were enjoying their time racing Indy around the track, they knew this was their last race at the hobby shop.

While the boys were inside, their sister played on the caboose, which also was for sale. It had a fair but hefty price tag. The children hoped Papa and Nana could afford to buy it.

Their sister was not interested in cars but did find a kite. She is now waiting for a windy day to fly the kite with Papa.

The closing of the Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart was sad news. The boys learned that there are disappointments in life. Now where will they race slot cars? They’ve already done some investigating and became aware of another shop in the area.

Maybe the boys will receive a race track for their October birthdays. It is quite possible that when Grandad and Grandma come to visit at Christmastime, the boys will be making new memories as they race cars on their own race track in the basement.

Hobbies seem to cross generational lines and create memories of fun and companionship. As John S. Kavulich leaves the business, he can be very proud that his dad’s hobbies provided so much fun for so many.

In just a few days my husband and I saw disappointment, enjoyment and anticipation in our grandchildren’s lives. We were glad we were able to “steer” them through these “tracks” of life.

By the way, the boys and I continue to read the comics in The Buffalo News.

Carol Ann Gleason, who lives in Kenmore, likes making memories with her grandchildren.

My son and I are deeply saddened by the closing of the store. He has been coming to your establishment since he was three years old. He’s now ten. He loves trains! He came in on so many occasions simply to watch the trains on the models.

My son is on the Autism Spectrum and your store provided so much comfort and happiness to him. It was always a special treat when he could go and spend a few hours and leave with either a Thomas train another type of model or a craft to do. I had to break the news to him yesterday and he was devastated.. We will be by this Saturday for one last goodbye.

Thank you for allowing children (everyone!) to enjoy your hobby store for so many years! It will be greatly missed!


J and K”
15 September 2017
I come here regularly and always enjoy stopping in. Whenever I go the staff is very friendly and helpful to me. I mainly come in for modeling paint, supplies, and GW products, as well as art supplies. They have good prices and are the only place I know that carries vallejo paints. I guess my only suggestion is id like to see them carry the full range of Vallejo game and model colors. Would also like if they carried faber-castell products such as polychromos pencils. They still have a great selection of products so no complaints. In the 15 plus years I’ve been coming here they have made some changes but really that reflects changes in customer interests. As a professional artist and hobby enthusiast I sincerely love this place.
— Thaddeus D. (1/13/2016)
Dear Manager: Living in the Rochester area, we often travel to your shop for materials for my hobby, dollhouses. I am an avid miniaturist (1/12th scale), just recently completed a Victorian bakery and had been searching for a resin figurine to complete my shop. Today, we decided to visit Niagara Hobby Shop to look for that resin figurine. We were very fortunate to have the assistance of Matt who went above and beyond when it came to customer service! After a tremendous amount of work on Matt’s part, I was able to get that figurine. It fit into the bakery perfectly! (see pictures attached) Thank you for having such a great salesperson on your staff! We’ll definitely be back! Thank you
— Janice D (3/7/2015)
I wanted to send you a message to tell you that my family has shopped at Niagara Hobby for many, many years now, literally as long as I can remember from childhood, and we love the family atmosphere and products. I can remember my brother being really into model cars as a kid, now 40 years old, and we always went there to get them. Even after most of my family have moved out of the area, they still make time to take a trip with the kids to the store. My nephew is really into trains and loves the displays and, of course, the caboose. I am proud to say that this weekend we are planning on taking our 12 week old son, to see Santa for the first time in the caboose. So long story short, my family LOVES your store and is proud to continue supporting local business in Buffalo. I love that as a family owned business you embrace technology such as linkedin, etc and continue to stay up with the times to ensure the business will endure these changing times of quick, impulse sales on the internet and lesser quality products with no thought. Love seeing your posts.
— Jill G (12/3/2014)
Hello, Just a note to say a bug THANK YOU for the wonderful Thomas event you hosted a little while back. We were thrilled with the event and with your amazing store. Our children enjoyed painting the wooden tracks and we have added them to our train toys here at home. They also love the Thomas whistles and the trains they got in their goodie bags. We will certainly plan on coming back for other events.
— Becky (11/18/2014)
I have been shopping at this store since I was very little, the only negative about this wonderful place is no parking. All their prices are extremely reasonable if not cheaper than going to a big store. I’ve never met an employee that was rude, they all, always have a chipper attitude and are just all around great people. I will keep shopping here forever/ No matter what age you are, you feel like a kid in a candy store in this wonderful place
— Ryan C (2/16/2014)
My family and I love your store, and we especially love all that you stand for. We are raising our son to be creative, independent of daily TV consumption, and we provide him with educational, mentally stimulating activities like those that you offer and feature in your store (he’s a definite train enthusiast - Thomas and Chuggington, as well as all trains). Your store is always a pleasure to visit and we have difficulty leaving (our toddler son loves the trains, as does my husband, and I am inspired by so many of the craft items and puzzles. I also want to thank you for allowing your employees to have Thanksgiving to spend with their families. I wish that more retailers would support and respect that employees have families and want to celebrate holidays with them. I am relieved and grateful to hear that you uphold the values that my husband and I grew up with, which we are raising our son with. Thank you for supporting family traditions and holidays
— Heather K (11/30/2013)
We WNYers are so fortunate to have you in our neck of the woods! Thank you ever so much for your existence and your contribution to our community.
— Rosemary P. (12/24/2013)
You guys have a great store and great service. I’m a regular customer and even have a layaway right now. Can’t you please put more of your inventory online, you don’t do your store justice. I will be calling tomorrow to put a T-34 on layaway. Your loyal customer..
— Bruce (3/16/2012)