Gennaro Jewelers thrived in spite of the time commitment that Hudes made to the revitalization project. He explained that the project was important to his business, as local stores depend on one another to survive.
“A tremendous amount of time was spent out of my business on behalf of other businesses,” he said. “But you know, in poker, they say, ‘all in.’ This was ‘all in.’”
Gennaro now has a staff of 25; Hudes said when he first came into the business, only Mr. Gennaro and a part-time employee worked at the store. He added that word of mouth has been a key to the shop’s success, as he has seen generations of local families walk through the store’s doors.
Ronnie Gies, 28, of Merrick, is a Gennaro customer who first came to the shop under his parents’ recommendation. He said he has purchased important jewelry at the shop, including an engagement ring, because the staff is polite and puts customers first.
“They treat us like family,” he said. “No matter what time of day it is, it is crowded, but you still get good service.”
Rick Flanagan, 65, of Bellmore, who has come to Gennaro for 50 years, agreed that Hudes and his staff treat customers with respect. Having lived in the community since he was 5, Flanagan said he is happy to see a business like Gennaro Jewelers stay afloat.
“Gary seemed like a guy that you could trust,” he said. “We became friends over the years, and whenever I have come to him, I know I will be treated well.”