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A quaint spot to stop and shop

What it's like in the Village of Springville:

A quaint village on the southernmost edge of Erie County, Springville boasts a historic downtown shopping district, featuring unique places to eat, shop, see a movie or attend a concert. The village itself is surrounded by rolling hills and farms, and even a newcomer to the area will tell you its 4,000 residents provide a friendly, welcoming place to live.

Places to go:

Shoppers will love the downtown shopping district, or they can hit the 39 Collective, a group of merchants located primarily along Routes 240, 219 and 39. Sportsmen should check out S&S Taxidermy on Cascade Drive, or join one of the sporting clubs in town. Also worth visiting is the Springville Dam and Cattaraugus Creek. Joylan Theatre is a historic art deco movie house on Main Street, and the Springville Center for the Arts features a schedule of concerts, plays, musicals and gallery exhibits. The Historical Society has a great museum featuring famous Springville residents Pop Warner and George Shuster. Special events to check out are the Street Painting Festival, the WNY Dairy Festival and Oktoberfest.

What makes it unusual:

The village's motto is "Bright Past, Brilliant Future," reflecting its ability to preserve its small-town agricultural roots, while growing and evolving with the times. It has a well-regarded community hospital. In addition to winning statewide academic and musical awards, many of its high school students show their agricultural heritage by driving their farm tractors to school one day each year.

Someone you should know:

Lifelong Springville resident Damon Gentner runs the Springville Commission Market, which features a hugely popular flea market and auction at 341 W. Main St. The business has been in his family since his grandfather Raymond started it as a weekly livestock market in 1939. The flea market features up to 70 vendors every Wednesday at its Main Street location, and attracts thousands of bargain hunters during peak season. Gentner, 37, who attended auction school about 10 years ago, also runs a weekly auction featuring, in his words, "just about anything you can imagine": furniture, tools, antiques, as well as small animals and livestock. Gentner loves the fact that although it's growing, Springville is maintaining its rural, small-town character.

>Q: As a lifelong resident, what do you like about the village?

A: It's nice. It's starting to grow. It's a little bit out in the country, but not too far away from the city. A lot of people are retiring and moving out this way.

>Q: How do you explain the continued popularity of the flea market?

A: It seems more people are into it. There are a lot less farms now so people are making money in different ways.

>Q: What's the biggest crowd you've had for the flea market and auction?

A: Up to 70 vendors for the flea market and 300 to 400 bidders at the auction.

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