Shop Buffalo: Thin Ice Giftshop

Hannah McMahon, Treasurer

From handmade gifts to jewelry, Thin Ice has it all!

Therese Deutschlander, the founder of the store, sources all of her products from local artists and puts an emphasis on knowing the artists she works with as well.

“I love more of a personal interaction with people as opposed to just opening up a catalogue and ordering a bunch of stuff from who knows where. So I wanted to do it for them, a more personal people connection, and also the fact that it’s a huge much more positive financial impact,” Deutschlander said.

After Deutschlander graduated from SUNY Buffalo State, she decided to open Thin Ice as a way to “bridge the local artists with the local community”.

Thin Ice is just about two miles down the road from campus in Elmwood Village. She chose Elmwood Village because she knew the community was business friendly and supportive of local artists.

As many art stores on Elmwood were closing and moving elsewhere, Deutschlander decided to fill that niche market. She put her own spin on it by focusing on artists in and around Western New York. Since opening in 2006, Thin Ice has grown to carry items from over 235 local artists.

While many of the things sold at Thin Ice are Buffalo themed, the artists have complete creative freedom. She can give the artists feedback and suggestions based on what she hears from customers.

“It is a really great collaborative relationship with the artists,” Deutschlander said.

Thin Ice is a shop where you know exactly where your money is going and your money is helping a lot more than just Thin Ice.

“When you shop here, you’re not just supporting a small business,” Deutschlander said. “You’re buying from a local artist, so you’re supporting their small business, and my small business, plus sometimes they’re buying their materials from another local artist. And so the impact that you have when you shop in my store is just such a ripple effect,”

Especially while we’re in the midst of a pandemic, there are a lot of good reasons to shop small, local businesses. Buffalo is the City of Good neighbors for a reason and shopping local helps the whole community.

The unique local-centric approach Deutschlander created is what has set her shop apart from many others.

“The community at large really appreciates shopping local and supporting local and so my business is definitely strong,” Destschalnder said.

At Thin Ice, you can spend your money guilt free. Deutschlander really cares about the community and making an impact.

Her only regret is she wishes she had hired employees sooner.

“We could have grown quicker, and supported more local artists sooner,” Deutschander said.

Deutschander and her team are now working on expanding their business towards e-commerce. While most of their sales are from the Buffalo area, they are seeing an increasing number of sales from around the country.

Buffalo natives all over can now get a piece of Buffalo and help support our local artists.

The seven minute drive from campus is worth it to check out Thin Ice’s eclectic collection of locally sourced crystals, stickers, pens and much more. And when you go don’t forget to say hi to the shop cat, Marshmallow, who is not for sale unfortunately.

Hannah McMahon