Continuing with the story of Roberto Chiappelloni, owner of Manfredi Jewels in Greenwich and New Canaan CT. Roberto says he blames former president, Ronald Reagan, for his decision to open Manfredi Jewels. He says, Reagan made him think that you can do anything so long as you believe in yourself and believe in the amazing opportunities America has to offer.
After living in Greenwich, CT and collecting vintage watches for quite some time, Roberto decided to turn his hobby into a business. At the time, watches that you could buy for very little money were again very popular and collectible, selling for high values at auction.
He thought the amazing town could use another watch store but unfortunately, at the time, there was no space available on Greenwich Avenue to open shop. Therefore, he opened his first store on Putnam Avenue.
Roberto didn’t know much about opening a store but he had the experience of owning many restaurants that he decided to give it a go. At the time, he was fearless. Roberto says, “When the business climate is right and when you feel good you think you can’t be stopped.”
He says, the worst that can happen for a businessman is that they lose the money they invested. But if that happens, nothing changes. “Tomorrow you can go back to work and do it again.”On a coffee run, less than a year after opening his store, Roberto says he spotted an available storefront on Greenwich Avenue and immediately signed a lease.
Roberto then closed his store on Putnam Avenue but for about 6 or 7 months he had to pay rent for both storefronts; as the lease from his Putnam Avenue space would not allow him to leave right away.
As the slim, low maintenance watches tired in fashion, the mechanical wonders Roberto had been collecting then became very popular. Roberto made a reputation for himself by going after brands that were not present in other stores of the area.
Roberto says he was able to have a lot of leeway with the franchise, being that the owner was his friend. That relationship allowed him to introduce watches in his Manfredi store, though the franchise originally had been strictly jewelry.
Roberto says the design of the store’s logo was an evolution. Gray and yellow are the original colors of the Manfredi franchise but over time he had the logo re-designed to include the beautiful timepieces he introduced in his store.
Continue listening for more on the story of Roberto and Manfredi Jewels…
"If you do something you have passion for, life is easy." - Roberto Chiappelloni
Visit Roberto's restaurant, Alberto, open only at night, at 98-31 Metropolitan Avenue, Forest Hills, NY 11375. Visit his jewelry store, Manfredi Jewels, at 121 Greenwich Ave, Greenwich, CT 06830.