Teachers’ Tools & Treasures was founded by Andrea Bridon shortly after retiring from teaching in the Buffalo, NY school system for 33 years. Her story and that of Teachers’ Tools & Treasures can best be summed up in a story that ran in the Buffalo News newspaper shortly before the store opened. Andrea’s retail/consignment shop has been open since Summer, 2003. The following article was written by Michelle Kearns and printed in April, 2003.

One night this past fall, 55-year-old Andrea Bridon woke up with a start. “I started thinking: ‘I can retire. What should I do?’ ”

After 33 years of teaching, she had a wealth of leftover shell displays, thesauruses, solar system models, rock collections, videos and books of “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” that crowded her attic.

“I can’t just give it away. I can’t use it anymore. I said, ‘You know maybe I could open a store.’ The more people I talked to thought, ‘What a terrific idea.’ ”

Bridon retired in January from her fourth-grade classroom at Dr. Lydia T. Wright School in Buffalo, NY and she plans to open Teachers’ Tools & Treasures next month on Cleveland Dr. in Cheektowaga, NY.

At her store, other teachers will be able to sell their teaching-aid stockpiles on consignment. “I’m now helping somebody again. I’m still accomplishing what I wanted to do. The kids are going to get excited,” she said.

Since retiring, Bridon’s social life has improved and she has more energy. She and her husband go out to dinner more. “Now I want to do something for myself,” she said. Bridon doesn’t sleep late, as she once did on her days off. She gets up early and goes swimming.

“I don’t miss school,” she said. “Now I have this free time.” When she was teaching, she said, “you always felt guilty if you sat down.”

During her teaching years, she spent about $2,000 on teaching aids each year. She had five or six cases of supplies for classes about plants. She had lots of books for lending students if they couldn’t get into the library.

When boxes filled her attic, she packed more into her husband’s shed. The convertible had to be moved outside. To make way for more flashcards, games and books, he had to move his other car out of its area of the garage.

Soon the boxes will be in the store where they belong. The cars will go back to their proper places, ready for another new phase of Bridon’s retirement: She will close her store on Mondays, the same day her husband is off from work. “We’re going to call them Monday adventures and just go somewhere,” she said. “He’s excited.”

‘Treasures’ Given Second Chance

Cheektowaga Bee article by JESSICA L. FINCH, Editor: To a teacher everything is a treasure — a finger painting, a hug, a thank-you, an A+ from a previously average student — even their tools are Treasures. Year after year teachers collect posters, books, etc. used to...

read more