The Lackawanna headquarters of Phoenix Scuba and Water Sports is situated so that it attracts both Canadian diving enthusiasts who drop in from the Niagara Peninsula as well as divers from throughout western New York State. Recreational-minded beginners hop into an indoor pool to build skills and underwater experience before venturing out to the open water on one of the company's scuba charters. Meanwhile, Phoenix's veteran instructors work with professional divers-in-training who are trying to become certified. Instructional programs are also offered in adaptive diving, which trains those with physical disabilities to safely enjoy the joys of scuba. Through the years, the resident community of adaptive divers has made trips to exotic locales such as the Cayman Islands, where divers explore the ocean's depths and play Battleship underwater.
G&G Fitness caters to both bodybuilding buffs and amateurs wishing to enhance their earthly edifices at home with a range of premium equipment, including such notable brands as Life Fitness, Octane Fitness, and Precor. As trained physique formers, G&G's friendly staff members easily hunt and lasso the ideal muscle-molding or heart-strengthening apparatus for each individual customer's specific needs. Avoid outdoor biking's headaches of potholes and projectile burritos by staying indoors on an immobile Vision Fitness E1500 ($499), an upright exercise bike that offers a comfort arc seat, contact heart-rate sensors, and easy-to-adjust pedal straps. Elliptical machines ($799+) and treadmills ($1,495+), offer great ways to calibrate cardiovascular chronometers any time of the day or night. For muscle-sculpting, home-gym systems (starting at $1,299)—which combine benches, pulley systems, and weight stacks in one space-saving package—give exercisers a way to bolster biceps and strengthen solar plexuses without having to traverse crowded gym floors.
Since 1910, Hallmark has stocked its shelves with a wide variety of greeting cards, gifts, and thoughtful keepsakes. Patrons can write a formal request for better candy from neighbors with Halloween greeting cards ($0.99+ each) or record a personalized greeting card to document a baby's first words in English or made-up baby language. Keepsake ornaments ($9.95+) inspired by the memorable Peanuts comic strip feature Snoopy, Lucy, and Charlie Brown decked out in Halloween costumes, and a variety of scrapbook kits and photo albums help to preserve memories without having to pickle the brain. A large selection of wrapping paper, ribbons, and bags encloses gifts in layers of festivity.
On the corner of Buffalo and Main Street, Ten Thousand Wines inhabits a quaint brick building that welcomes visitors to its microwinery and tasting room. As a winery free from ties to a particular vineyard, Ten Thousand Wines' staff can source its grapes from vines all around the world—including Antarctica—a practice that inspired the winery's name. The vintners hand make each variety in small batches and carry more than 40 wines in their retail store. At a tasting bar, open Tuesday–Saturday, curious sippers perch around a quarter-circle bar to sniff and swirl their wines, such as Nooks & Crannies, a cranberry-chianti blend, or the delicate Delaware, made from New York grapes. The shop's resident oenophiles share their passion with guests in 90-minute wine-making classes, bolstered by a wealth of wine kits and raw grape juices. In an article from the Buffalo News, owner Mike Ditonto cites what he sees as the appeal of home winemaking: nostalgia for grandparents' wine cellars and new methods of family bonding more comfortable than supergluing yourself to a favorite relative.
Aiming to reinvent the ambiance of an old-fashioned sewing outlet, the family-owned-and-operated Eden Creative Sewing Center is the craft-based center for all sewing, quilting, or garment-construction needs. A certified dealer of Pfaff and Bernina embroidery machines, Eden Creative Sewing Center keeps customers abreast of the latest stitching technology while permitting patrons to trade their used machines toward the newest models. Thimble-thumbed staffers readily assist customers in navigating the store’s extensive array of fabrics, cottons, and additional supplies. A brigade of expert sewers instruct Eden Creative Sewing Center’s classes and workshops, which cover such skill sets as pattern fitting, embroidery, quilting, and stitching.
For years, Rebecca Ruger collected the smooth pieces of glass that washed up on Lake Erie’s beaches. It started out as a pastime, but one day, she had a creative impulse and used some of the pieces to make a piece of artwork as a gift for her boyfriend. After that, she continued to create glass-based artwork, selling the pieces at craft shows alongside her jewelry-maker daughter. The work began to grow in popularity, and today, Ruger owns her own art boutique—Beach Bum Glass Cottage.
According to metroWNY, Ruger and her boyfriend now spend more than 20 hours each week scouring the Hamburg beaches for the glass, driftwood, and fossils that she uses to make the artwork and jewelry in her shop. Ruger also supports other local artisans by stocking handmade products that range from dog treats to soy candles.