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Small businesses luring shoppers out of the mall

Posted at 10:55 AM, Dec 17, 2014
and last updated 2015-12-12 10:32:54-05

The race is on to find that perfect holiday gift and a local couple is hoping more shoppers will support small businesses and explore their store, which is filled with 'Things for all Seasons.'

That's the name of the retail operation that Tony Kuras started after losing his job in the manufacturing industry after nearly 30 years. He says he ventured into retail to help others find gifts at reasonable prices, both in his store, at 6472 Southwestern Boulevard in Lake View, and on his website.

Now, as he enters his sixth year in the retail sector, he and his wife Peggy have seen nearby businesses close and they've seen many cars speed by their shop on a busy stretch of Route 20 in Hamburg.

But, they say, those who stop are impressed with a wide assortment of unique items. About 40 percent come from local artists and Western New York vendors. Items range from prayer bears and military-themed gifts to beach glass jewelry and artwork with flickering lights.

"You're not going to find them at the big box stores. You're not going to find them at any of the real discount stores," Tony said. "We have different things and we're always looking for new things either from a wholesaler or from local people."

"We tell everyone we have a sale everyday because we rarely mark things up to the suggested manufacturer's retail price," Peggy added.

She says she's impressed with all of the development in downtown Buffalo, but has learned first hand that it's not easy to run a small business in its shadow.

So the Kuras' are relying on good old-fashioned customer service to help them stand out.

"People have called saying, 'I'm running late, may I come in?'" said Peggy, who kept the doors open. "Another man wanted to bring his mom in, but she could only come Sunday, when we weren't open, so we made it a point to come in. We don't mind because customer service is number one with us."

"I try to treat our customers like I want to be treated," said Tony, who's stocking new items right up until Christmas. "From the littlest thing like putting and item in the box and wrapping it to make sure it won't get damaged."

Things for all Seasons is now open until 7:00 p.m. six nights a week and until 4:00 p.m. on Sundays for holiday shopping.