History May 08, 2015 14:13
It was approximately in the year 1916 that Mrs. Katherine Driscoll suddenly lost her husband. She decided to open a place for repairing dolls to support her 10 year old son, Jim with her cousin Mrs. Anne Nath.
The business did well and gradually Mrs. Driscoll added toys to the business.
In 1926 a young lady by the name of Eleanor Clayton, who had learned doll repairing in Toronto, was asked to work with them. She frequently went with Mrs. Driscoll to New York to buy for the toy department which was now a big business, filled with excellent toys and gifts, serving the people of Buffalo.
Eleanor Clayton at 946 Elmwood
Unfortunately, Mrs. Driscoll passed away in 1935, leaving the business to her son, Jim who was now a young married man with two daughters. Jim stayed involved with the business, while Miss Clayton looked after doll repairing, buying and running the store.
In 1949 Jim decided to sell the business to the owner of a hobby shop who wanted to expand his business. He expected Miss Clayton to stay; however, hobbies were of no interest to her and she started her own toyshop called “The Doll’s House” on East Delevan.
The hobby shop venture failed and Jim took the store back after arranging for Miss Clayton to enter a partnership with him. They then started the Toyland & Doll Hospital again and it did very well.
In 1951 Jim moved with his firm to California, so he arranged for Miss Clayton to take over the store. About a year later, there was an opportunity for the store to expand, so it moved to the corner of Elmwood and Bidwell. The store was noted for its Madame Alexander Dolls and small Steiff animals. Both products are still stocked in the store today.
The business flourished and she was finally able to change its name from Toyland & Doll Hospital to “Clayton’s Toyland.”
Unfortunately, in October of 1969, she had to move from these premises as the building was sold. She was about to move a little farther up the street to a smaller store on the corner of Elmwood and North, and again Clayton’s Toyland continued in business (with only one day of closing during the entire moving process!).
For some time previous to this, however, she had not been feeling very well, and her brother Bill and his wife used to visit her and help her run the store. She was eventually admitted into the hospital in October of 1970.
Mr. and Mrs. C Townsend Wilson
Her family carried on the business until July 2nd, when Mr. and Mrs. C. Townsend Wilson bought the store. They successfully ran the store for about twenty five years and moved Clayton’s to its current location in Williamsville at 5225 Main Street!
The store was then owned by the Roberts family. The Roberts owned the store for about 22 years.
Tera and Kellie are now the owners or Clayton's. They were long time employees and are now living the dream of owning a toy store!
Clayton’s still holds the whimsical ideals and timeless toys that Miss Driscoll and Miss Clayton used to mold the store some 93 years ago.
Come in to see for yourself!