The Sons Also Rise: Inside Gerald Peters in Staten Island, NY

Gerald Peters

Staten Island, N.Y.
59, first generation

Gerald Peters

Staten Island, N.Y.
26, second generation

Gerald Peters
Staten Island, N.Y.
25, second generation

“Times have changed so much,” says Jerry Amerosi, co-owner of fine jewelry store Gerald Peters in Staten Island, N.Y. “I remember hanging chains on customers’ necks with a lit cigarette in my mouth. Can you imagine?” Modern smoking laws aside, the retailer credits his two 20-something sons, co-owners Gerald and Peter Amerosi, with helping him push the business he opened in 1982 into the next generation. “They are the new world,” says Jerry, who with his sons also owns Pandora boutiques in Staten Island and Toms River, N.J. The trio expanded their multi-brand store in Staten Island Mall to triple its original size in 2015—broadening the inventory to include such big names as Shinola and Roberto Coin. 

Neither Gerald nor Peter, who grew up engrossed in baseball and other sports, expected to join the business when they were young. But eventually, “we saw the opportunity,” Gerald says. “And I saw myself going to work and enjoying it every day.” 

Jerry, who has reduced his man-hours considerably since his sons came on, is grateful for their change of heart. “What would happen if, God forbid, tomorrow morning I woke up in a coma for six months?” he says. “Five or six years ago I didn’t have an answer for that. My two sons are a good team. It’s so nice to know my business will be here 10 years from now.” 

Good Fit

Jerry: I was not pushing them to join the business at all when they were young—they were busy with sports and that also became my hobby. I would kick the baseball field dust off my feet and go back to the store. 

Peter: I went to college for business management. I wanted to start a business. But when the Pandora store in Toms River opportunity came up, my dad said, “I’m going to give you this business in New Jersey, but it will be your store to staff.” That was a no-brainer.

Gerald: I studied accounting in college, and the plan was for me to start an internship somewhere else. During the holiday break before I was scheduled to start, I worked full-time at the store and completely fell in love with it. 

Mutual Admiration

Jerry: Gerald loves the bridal business. These guys come in and they don’t even know how to give a ring to their girlfriends. He’s like, “No, no, no, sit down.” He walks them all through it. Peter is more about the back end of the business, and he’s great at that.

Gerald: Peter is the brainiac. He’s very analytical. And people all over Staten Island respect my dad. He remembers everyone’s name—and I’m talking about hundreds of people. 

Peter: You have to open up your ears and eyes when you’re starting in a family business, and make sure you learn from your [parents]. They’re the ones who put in 80-hour weeks to build this. 

Family Perks

Jerry: I love that I get to see my sons so much. One of my sons is out front right now, and my other son is at the Pandora store. Maybe we can all have lunch. 

Top: Jerry Amerosi (c.) with his sons, Gerald (l.) and Peter

Photograph by Peter Chin

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