By Sarah Unger
It’s been just a few months since Danielle Bottoni moved her 6-year-old jewelry business from Hamilton to Robbinsville.
Ready to explore the area’s dynamic market growth, Bottoni said, “The development is moving so quickly here and the Route 130 corridor is expanding rapidly.”
The store’s warm surroundings are decorated with just enough chandeliers, sconces, and rich upholstery to lend opulence without overpowering the delicacy of items displayed.
“We are hoping that we have some of the same following,” Bottoni said of the loyal customers she nurtured in Hamilton. “And we’re looking for new customers, too, learning about their needs and wants.”
Bottoni provides jewelry for all of life’s milestones, from religious commemorations such as children’s communions and confirmations, to engagements, weddings, anniversaries, and many celebrations. Full repair services are offered as well. The jeweler welcomes customers with their own ideas for settings or designs, as several local artisans provide custom work to bring ideas to fruition.
“If you think of it and you want it, we can make it,” she said.
“I see a lot of people really wanting to know more about their diamond purchases,” said Bottoni, adding that the educated consumer makes her job easier by facilitating a savvy dialogue about color, cut, clarity and carat weight. “If they’re looking for a large stone, great. If they’re looking for something smaller, that’s great also. What counts is quality and value.”
Bottoni makes frequent excursions to the diamond districts of New York City and Philadelphia, and visits the major jewelry shows. Aside from the appeal of diamonds, Bottoni does not see a particular precious or semi-precious stone as more popular than another, as birthstones and individual color preferences vary widely. Bottoni said she accommodates all needs.
“If a customer wants to come in and spend $50, we can find something in their budget and maximize what they can spend.” A layaway plan can secure the product for as much time as the customer needs, “even if it’s just $5 a month,” she stressed.
The store buys gold from frugal customers who wish to convert some of their valuables into cash or into a new jewelry purchase.
From her first jewelry sales job at age 16 through every summer and college job, Bottoni honed and polished her skills while immersed in her parents’ talk of jewelry, customer service, and business relationships.
Her parents Dennis and Julia Mitala, who’ve known each other since first grade, have worked in the retail jewelry businesses for more than three decades. They staff Bottoni Jewelers as manager and sales associate.
Bottoni said that she holds deep respect for their industry knowledge and retail relationships, and considers their experience a boon to her business. Occasionally Dennis Mitala will even share some of his poetry with customers.
The family connections don’t stop there.
Even Bottoni’s 80-year-old grandmother Angelina Falchi helps out from time to time, to the delight of customers, as do her in-laws Jack and Michelle Bottoni, who own the shopping center to which Bottoni moved her store.
While construction of a Web site is on the to-do list, it will serve only to supplement the satisfaction of people-to-people interaction that only a brick and mortar store can deliver.
“Customers need to touch and feel the jewelry to make a truly informed decision,” she said.
Most rewarding for Bottoni is to see a customer’s thrill over a newly chosen piece. “They really want to show it off,” she said. ”That’s so rewarding. We’re going to make the best of this.”
Open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Bottoni Jewelers is located at 1240 Route 130 South. For more information, call (609)490-1001.