Herald JournalHerald Journal, Nov. 24, 2003

Everything from Amish gifts to toys at new shop

By Liz Hellmann

Santa's workshop could very well resemble the new Railroad Express Gifts along Highway 12 in Waverly, which opened for business Nov. 7.

Variety is evident throughout the shop, with Amish craftsmanship, children's games and toys, and hand-made gifts crafted from local talent being available.

Shelly Hirsch is owner of the gift shop, which specializes in seasonal décor, along with a northern woods collection, and other gifts ranging from kitchen accessories to children's toys.

"There's something for everyone," Hirsch commented.

The shop offers the residents of Waverly a place to do some holiday shopping right in their own backyards.

Within the next couple of weeks a video rental room will be added to the shop. Plans for a new western area are also in the works.

Hirsch bought the land with hopes of opening a business, but without knowing exactly what kind of business she wanted.

Construction on the building began in the spring.

Sandy Stasson, owner of Waverly Flooring, designed the interior of the store, bringing together all the elements of the gift collection.

The gift store celebrated its grand opening Nov. 14.

In addition to its wide range of gift items, Railroad Express is also a family run business.

Twin sisters Jill and Bridget DesMarais are full-time employees courtesy of the Buffalo school work program.

"It's been a lot of fun working here, it's given me a lot of responsibility," Jill said. "I'm glad that I am part of the Buffalo work program."

The work program operates out of the Buffalo High School, which allows students who qualify to gain work experience outside of the classroom for education credit.

The DesMarais sisters are both seniors at Buffalo High School.

Missy DesMarais is the shop's only part-time employee.

Jill and Bridget DesMarais gained experience in pricing and working the cash register at their previous jobs.

However, working with hand-made gifts, such as those the store carries, is a personal hobby of theirs.

Owner Hirsch specializes in the outdoor sections of the store, such as the northern woods collection.

The store is open Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m..However, from now until Christmas they will also be open on Sunday mornings, to accommodate holiday shoppers.

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