Published: Saturday, May 07, 2011
BY LAUREN CARPENTER
CLIFTON PARK — When Italo Massaroni was building Plank Road Plaza about 20 years ago he suggested to his daughter, Lynn Massaroni Chrys, that she open a store in the new strip mall. She agreed.
In memory of her brother, Gary, her business partner in another venture at the time when he passed away in 1989, Chrys ordained the new store with his name keeping him close to her heart knowing he would be looking down on her future success.
At first, Chrys dabbled in a few different areas of retail; she tried to find what worked best for her and against established competition. Her goal was to find a niche — a unique formula that would drive business to her store.
Not long into her tenure as store owner while at a vendors’ show in Atlantic City, an employee saw a professional embroidery machine and wanted to bring it back to try custom embroidery. Again, Chrys agreed.
That first single-head embroidery machine was the beginning of a winning combination of what would define A Gary’s Treasures here in town. That first machine has been replaced twice over the years, to a four-head and now a six-head, just to keep up with the demands of custom embroidery at the store.
Just name it and Chrys and her staff can place monogrammed initials, names and school or corporate logos on just about everything. Embroidery encompasses more than half of her revenue with almost every local high school and college on her list and businesses such as Time Warner Cable, Concord Pools, The Desmond and Albany Mechanical Heating and Cooling all utilizing custom embroidery for all their school and corporate apparel.
And not all apparel needs to be custom ordered. The store’s website notes that it is “fully stocked allowing customers the option of selecting and purchasing merchandise on the spot.”
Quick turnaround is also available on small orders especially when the vice-president is making an appearance just down the road. Chrys proudly displays a letter from Shenendehowa Superintendent Oliver Robinson thanking her for the fast work so he could present Vice-President Joe Biden with a green Shenendehowa jacket he received when visiting in July 2009. In part, Robinson said, “You and your team at A Gary’s Treasures were swift in consideration of the timeframe, and the attention to detail was paramount.”
Chrys and her staff of six treat everyone with the same professionalism.
And it’s not just about the team jerseys. Chrys notes that just about everything can have a name or title placed on it. Great gifts ideas include towels, laundry bags, umbrellas, even coolers-on-wheels. Just name it and A Gary’s Treasures will try to accommodate.
Another part of the successful formula found early on was the year-round demand for religious items and gifts. It may be the store’s best kept secret.
“Our religious section started with just two shelves. Now it covers the perimeter of the store,” Chrys says.
From dedications to baptisms to confirmations Chrys carries crosses, inspirational pictures, statues, saints’ medals and rosaries among other canonical items to choose from. Those with upcoming first communions in the family need to look no further.
Chrys has also honed in on jewelry which, she admits, is not only unique but fun to wear.
“We have a great selection. Genuine pearls and stones like onyx, amethyst and Swarovski crystals, sterling silver all imported from Thailand and China. I buy in bulk so most of the jewelry falls between the $25 to $35 range,” she said. Along with jewelry, Chrys offers a selection of beautiful scarves. They are on display just as you walk into the store.
Along with these mainstays, Chrys also offers a wide selection of wedding invitations with a library of about 20 books to review. It’s important to her to get such an important part of a bride and groom’s big day done right the first time. “Some may opt to go online, but we have a relationship with [vendors] so there are no mistakes.”
Chrys doesn’t leave the wedding theme just at invitations. She carries a plethora of accessories to go along with the wedding invites. Attendants’ gifts, wine glasses, toasting glasses, frames, guest books, unity candles and garters are all on hand along with robes for the mister and missus.
One additional area Chrys is very proud of is gifts for the new baby. The store’s inventory includes robes, night lights, blankets, music boxes and the popular puzzle stools —another item that’s hard to keep in the store.
A rather unique gift she carries is the christening bonnet that later is transformed into a handkerchief for a girl’s wedding day or it becomes a ring bearer’s pillow for a boy to use in the future.
Open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., A Gary’s Treasures really is a one-of-a-kind store with a winning formula.