NEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) -- Just in time for holiday shopping, a local toy store is being recognized with a pretty high honor.

Amato’s Toy and Hobby store in New Britain is being recognized as being one of the top 25 Independently Owned toy stores in the country, which came as a bit of a surprise to the owner.

“Well it’s amazing, I didn’t know anything about it, I didn’t know we were being considered. I don’t know how that happened or who put us up for that but it’s nice to her other people appreciate what we do,” said Steven Amato, owner of the toy store.

He said Amato’s isn’t your typical toy store.

They don’t sell electronics and he tries to carry mostly American made products.

He also said it’s rewarding to see generations of customers who keep coming back.

On Thursday, a store patron named Jessica said she’s been coming to Amato’s since she was little.

“Because it’s Amato’s. It’s a tradition. It’s a wonderful place and its family this is just where you be, where you are,” she said.

It’s not only the locals that shop at Amato’s. Some people come from quite a distance

“I had a guy the other day, Thanksgiving weekend. He comes in, he says, ‘you know I came all the way from Baltimore to come shopping here.’ I said no you didn’t. He said ‘really, I have family up here but I only agreed to come see them because I knew I could come here’,” Amato said.

Amato’s was started as a small model airplane business by Steven’s father Vincent in 1940.

They’ve been in their present location since 1974.

Steven said he treats everyone like family and, whether it’s your first time in the store or you are a regular, they treat everyone the same.

“I never expected something like this in here but, you come over here you need to grab some tissues or something because you’re going to cry. It’s amazing,” said Gabriel Roman.

He added that he was emotional after being in the store because he hasn’t had his whole family together in a very long time but he’s looking forward to playing the same games he played with his siblings as a kid.

Copyright 2018 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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