Hyatt's All Things Creative, one of Allentown's most familiar businesses, is leaving its home of almost 60 years and moving to North Buffalo.
The store, at 910 Main St. across from the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, is expanding to a new, 40,000-square-foot building under construction at an undisclosed location 4 miles from its Main Street flagship store that in the last several years has seen a sizable surge in its online business, much of it reaching overseas to Europe.
Growing pains are at the root of the move from its Main Street store. Combined with its Clarence location and customer service center, Hyatt's said it is the largest art material retailer between New York City and Chicago.
"It has been an icon in Allentown," said Beth Hyatt-Martin, director of marketing and public relations for the company started by her grandfather, the late Charles W. Hyatt. "I grew up with that building, but that building is very complex, with three stories, a basement and a mezzanine. It's hard to make our current building work because it's on so many levels."
Hyatt-Martin said the company needs more space to run its business and provide improved work space for its 50-plus employees. The new location will be 8,000 square feet larger than the Main Street site stretching across four storefronts. It also will double the amount of retail space to 13,000 square feet.
"We're not leaving the city," Hyatt-Martin stressed. The company expects to announce the location of the new site later this spring.
The store last week began circulating fliers in its store about the "dream home" it is building. The new site also will feature two interior classrooms with access to the store and outside, along with a covered outdoor seating and event area. The new site also will contain expanded office and warehouse space and is expected to be open late this year, with at least 80 parking spots. The Hyatts also want to display more merchandise.
Assistant store manager Mike Hanna, a 28-year employee, said he has met people from all over the world in the store – from art students to famous celebrities.
"It's part of Allentown. It's almost like losing a department store," Hanna said Monday. "It adds to the Allentown community and Bohemian culture."
At a time when art stores are consolidating or going out of business, Hanna said it's exciting to see Hyatt's grow its business.
The company said no decision has been made about the company's Clarence store at 8565 Main St., which opened in 1971. Classes for youth and adults will continue at both locations.
When Charles Hyatt first opened an art store, it was in 200 square feet at 499 Franklin St., in the heart of the Allentown arts district before moving in 1961 to the current address on Main Street two blocks away.
Hyatt-Martin said nothing has been done so far with the Main Street building, which she said is owned by several people within the family.
The company is owned by Gregory C. Hyatt, president and chief executive officer; and Peter W. Hyatt, executive vice president. Beth Hyatt-Martin and her sister, Sara Hyatt, director of operations, represent the third generation.