WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. – Today, November 30, 2023, New York State Senator Sean Ryan announced that Clayton’s Toys has been selected as the 61st Senate District Small Business of the Month for November. Senator Ryan will present the company with a New York State Senate Empire Award celebrating the oldest continuously run toy store in the United States for its place in the Western New York community.
Clayton’s Toys has been a local fixture for 107 years since opening as a doll hospital on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo in 1916. The business soon expanded to become a toy store, and Clayton’s has continued to sell toys, games, and other novelties ever since. In 1991, the store moved to its Main Street location in Williamsville, and in 2021, Clayton’s returned to Buffalo with a second location on Hertel Avenue.
When they took over ownership in 2015, Clayton’s owners Kellie Klos and Tera McElligott already had 40 years working at the store between them. Their experience has helped them maintain the high standards of customer service that have brought generation after generation of shoppers through their doors. Today, as a thank you to the people who provide care to children across Western New York, Clayton’s offers discounts to teachers, therapists, and camp counselors.
Each year during the holiday season, Clayton’s puts out bins to collect toy donations for children in need. This year, they are donating toys to Be a Blessing Buffalo, a local non-profit organization that brings gifts to families who have lost their jobs, are struggling to provide for their family, are fighting terminal illness, or have been affected by homelessness.
Senator Sean Ryan said, “It is my honor to celebrate America’s longest continuously run toy store with November’s Small Business of the Month award. Keeping a beloved local business like Clayton’s Toys thriving is a big responsibility. Kellie and Tera have done a great job maintaining the standards set by generations of owners before them, and they deserve a special thank you for continuously giving back to the community.”
Senator Ryan will continue to highlight businesses that deserve special recognition for their contributions to the Western New York community throughout 2023. To nominate a business for the December award, individuals should fill out the nomination form here or at ryan.nysenate.gov by Sunday, Dec. 17.
Businesses that will receive special consideration during the selection process include:
- Companies that have created a culture of philanthropy and/or demonstrated exceptional leadership in the community
- Leaders in their industry and/or innovators in their field
- Promoters of economic growth in Western New York
- Family-owned businesses that have successfully passed from one generation to another
- Companies that conduct virtuous ethical practices and/or utilize green practices
To be eligible for the award, a business must be located in the 61st Senate District, which includes parts of the City of Buffalo, as well as the entireties of the City of Tonawanda, the Towns of Amherst, Grand Island, and Tonawanda, and the Villages of Kenmore and Williamsville. To confirm whether a business is located in the 61st District, individuals can visit www.nysenate.gov/find-my-senator and enter its address.