Goodbye Zachary Bear :(

3 Jan

After 20 years, one of Webster’s most beloved shops is closing its doors.  The Zachary Bear Store, at 263 North Avenue, is going out of business.

This charming little store began back in 1982 with a character created by Lori DeLeonardis-Aman, which she named Zachary.  What began as a series of storybook characters soon expanded to occupations, sports and family events.  Lori’s husband Bill Aman started looking for ways to produce prints of the designs. Enter Ed Huehn and his small graphics company, a partnership was forged, and The Zachary Bear Store was born.

In the 20 years since, the Zachary Bear collection has grown to more than 350 titles and 700+ different designs; for example, you can find a Zachary Bear print for pretty much any occupation you can think of (I saw ones for a phlebotomist and colon/rectal surgeon when I was there). But the store has also become a popular stop for unique, personalized gifts, and is especially well known for items depicting local towns and schools. Unfortunately, big-box businesses can sell such items for a lot less money, and in today’s economy that makes it tough for a small business to stay afloat.

Ed Huehn and Bill Aman

The Zachary Bear Store’s last day of business will be January 15.  But take heart, all you Zachary Bear fans out there. Even though Ed and Bill aren’t planning to open another store, many Zachary Bear designs will be available through other companies which offer gift items, so keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, make your way down to the shop before the doors close for good, because everything is on sale (including a nice selection of Webster schools gifts — think ahead to Teacher Appreciation Day!)

The Zachary Bear Store is located at 263 North Avenue at Orchard Street, right next to Kittleberger Florist. For more information log onto zacharybear.com.

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