Our Story – Charisma Jewelers
We attribute much of our store’s success to the close friendship that the business was founded upon. Our fathers, Frank Giudice and Christopher Maenza, entered their first business partnership when they opened Gates Barber Shop in 1966 (a year before we were even born). With this first venture they realized that they had a good thing going because they worked so well together. Ten years later our dads saw an opportunity to expand their rapidly growing shop to a full service unisex hair salon called Charisma Unisex Salon.
We were just kids when our dads decided to introduce the first case of jewelry into the hair salon. They had developed such a strong customer base that they saw an opportunity to enter a new business. They began importing jewelry from Europe and selling it in the salon. While they were on buying trips we were attending birthday parties and neighborhood get-togethers. The business flourished and with that spark of entrepreneurial energy, our fathers opened their first full service jewelry store. In 1983 Charisma Jewelers opened its doors for the first time. The original store was on a piece of property that our dads purchased right next door to the hair salon.
We guess you could say that our fathers’ love of people and jewelry rubbed off on us. Along the way, we picked up a few things about running a successful business too. In 1988 we attended the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in Santa Monica, California and became GIA Diamond Graduates. It was at this point that our fathers decided to expand into a more central location on West Ridge Road, in the town of Greece, to make the store more accessible to a greater number of their customers. In August of 1988 the second home of Charisma Jewelers was open for business and the location next to the salon was closed. We followed in our fathers’ footsteps and took over full management of business operations in 1990.
Our new more accessible location created much more traffic than we had previously and more traffic created a greater need for more inventory. In our new location we expanded our inventory significantly in loose diamonds. Our fathers had already established great working relationships with overseas diamond cutters from Tel Aviv, Israel and Antwerp, Belgium. Because of our need for greater volumes we became able to buy direct from the diamond cutters and pass along the savings to our customers. This is essentially how we became diamond brokers.
Although it was critical that we expand our diamond inventory, we found that we continued to have a growing demand for designer merchandise and custom jewelry. Our strict attention to detail and strong emphasis on customer service and satisfaction led to an incredible growth of our customer base. It was not long before we began to feel a need for more space to serve our customers’ needs. In November of 2007 we made the most recent move into our current location. We knew our customers loved the convenience of our Ridge Road location, so we moved right across the street.
With our new location right across from the main entrance to the Mall at Greece Ridge, and our expanded square footage, (7,000 square feet), we are more committed than ever to going out of our way to meet our customer’s needs. We love being a family owned neighborhood jewelry store. We love working with younger generations of our father’s original customers as well as our new friends we’ve met along the way.
Neil and Gaetano