Eat. Shop. Drink. Shop. Give. Sing. Eat. Shop. Drink. Repeat. 

This is a great time of year for Hertel. Today is Small Business Saturday which is sure to have the avenue abuzz. And next week, seemingly all the shops and restaurants and bars will come together to offer a great holiday experience – one filled with music, refreshments, sales and other surprises.

I’ve learned, maybe because I’m a family man now (or maybe because I’m just getting old) that holiday shopping should be an experience that creates special memories. I’m not talking about the special memories of losing sleep and ditching family gatherings, or even worse, of tragic injuries from the mob scenes of crazed shoppers.

Rather, memories that consist of quality time with friends and family, genuine interaction between store owners and shoppers, feelings of excitement when truly unique gifts are found, feelings of fulfillment knowing your supporting the local community, great food, festive ambiance…the list could go on.

Believe it or not, those things do exist and I think you have a better shot at achieving those memories if you spend your time shopping local. So, as said last year on Small Business Saturday, make it a point to come to the neighborhood, not the mall.

Also, one last suggestion. As you focus on purchasing and consuming, give some thought to helping others that aren’t as fortunate.

During the Hertel Holidays on December 4th & 5th, Daily Planet Coffee Co., Vanity Salon, MAC’s on Hertel and The Antique Lamp Co. and Gift Emporium are all hosting drives and/or taking donations for worthy causes. And bins manned by the WNY Coalition for Donated Goods will be located along Hertel on Saturday to donate new and good used clothing which will benefit local needy families.

Tis the season for a lot of things, and giving is most certainly one of them.

Happy Hertel Holidays!

Hertel Holidays 2015

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Frame-worthy Houses

One of the appeals of living in North Buffalo, or the city in general for that matter, is being immersed in the beauty and charm that comes with the 100+ year old houses.

We truly love our 1910 house with all its history and character and curb appeal.

So last year, when our friend Julia sent us a holiday card with a drawing of her house on the cover, we were impressed (and maybe even a little envious). Obviously, at that moment Karen and I both decided it was imperative that we have a drawing of our house done at some point as well.

Here’s where the funny part of the story comes in. I acted quickly and enlisted the services of Karen Matchette, the artist who drew Julia’s house. Our house on Saranac was precisely drawn, double matted, framed and wrapped in August – a solid four months ahead of Christmas! Surely a record for me.

Fast forward to last week, and Karen starts snooping around for the same person’s contact information to have the same drawing done for my Christmas gift.

We are sooo soulmates aren’t we? It was definitely cute that we both had great intentions for the same holiday gift, but it did add an element of stress. In Julia’s frantic attempt to preserve my surprise while staying a loyal friend to both of us, she did the only thing she could do and lied to my wife. Mysteriously, as the story went, the artist upped and moved of town last month.

Yea, not really, but it seemed plausible.

Karen didn’t let it stop her and she immediately reached out to another artist in town who does similar work in her own style – Dana Saylor. Given that I knew Karen was hot on the trail to get this gift for me I pulled an audible and gave her the intended Christmas gift on her birthday Friday. Here’s how it turned out:

Drawing 1

She loved it. We love it. Then we laughed about our parallel journeys toward getting this done. Then we immediately reached out to Dana with an apology and a request to rip up the check she’ll soon be receiving. Then we hung it up. Then we wrote this blog.

In the end, we have a permanent commemoration of our first home that will hang on our wall for years to come. Should we ever leave this old, beautiful house, it’s great to know that, through this picture, it will always be with us no matter where we are. And you as a reader, now have two wonderful references should you wish to have this done for your house!

Drawing 2