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7. The Connecticut Store - A Treasure Trove of Connecticut Crafts!

At the next light go straight on Bank St. the impressive Howland Hughes Store on the right complete with Greek columns, whimsical roof brackets and gothic arches is oldest continuously operating department store in the state. Today, it houses the Connecticut Store, an extensive gallery of imaginative and tasteful Connecticut products.

Shoppers may learn a bit of Connecticut history while finding unique gifts. For example, few may be aware that the Waterbury Button Company has been supplying buttons for U.S. military uniforms since the War of 1812. Today they make buttons for most of the services, for marching bands and state police departments nationwide, as well for companies from Donna Karan and Polo to J.C. Penney.

Handsome gift sets of blazer buttons sold here include buttons designed for professions such as doctor and lawyer, and for hobbies like sailing or tennis. History buffs should relish replicas of the buttons made for the officers and crew of the ship Titanic. This is also the only company licensed to create buttons featuring the state seal for all 50 states.

Another standby, the Wiffle Ball, is another Connecticut product, born over 50 years ago in Shelton, and still a family-run business. Balls, bats, flying saucers, official caps and signature ties are among the offerings in their Waterbury outpost.