Thursday, July 25, 2024

Hannoush Jewelers comes to Queensbury

By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor

Hannoush Jewelers, which has stores on Wolf Road in Colonie and Route 9 in Clifton Park, has opened in Queensbury, at the former Louis Jewelers site on Route 9.

Brothers and co-owners Albert and David Hannoush purchased the property in December from Louis Carciobolo, who operated Louis Jewelers in the former Sutton’s complex.

Brothers Albert (left) & David Hannoush. Photo provided
They opened on April 21, and plan a grand opening with ribbon cutting Thursday, June 13.

David Hannoush spoke to the Chronicle. He didn’t reveal their purchase price, but said they put about “a half-million dollars” into a complete interior redo at the 4,000 square foot store. He termed it “a significant investment because we’re going to be here for a long time.”

Mr. Hannoush said Mr. Carciobolo contacted them last September with his plans to retire, and again in December.

“My brother and I weren’t thinking about opening a location or expanding,” Mr. Hannoush says. But after the second call, “We took a drive up and visited.” He said of Mr. Carciobolo, “We had a lot of similar views on the industry, how to take care of the customer, building relationships. My brother and I definitely recognize that this is a growing market. We also recognize that it may be underserved with respect to jewelry…

“Knowing that Louis was running a healthy business when he retired, for us to step into a location that was already a successful business with the opportunity to grow it even more by doing the things that we do well, I just thought it would be an easy transition.

“We have a lot of clients up in this market, so it allows us the opportunity to service them better. And, in the last few years, this part of New York, especially the Lake George region, has gotten a lot of attention not just locally, but nationally. To be part of that growing community, there’s a lot of upside for us.”

Hannoush Jewelers comes north — David Hannoush and his brother Albert own Hannoush Jewelers. He is pictured with Jennifer Carusone, manager of the new Queensbury location on Route 9, in the former Sutton’s complex. Chronicle photo/Cathy DeDe
The Hannoush brothers in 2007 purchased the business from their father, Elias. Since then, David said, “Our business model changed a lot.”

For 30 years, “We were in all the major malls” — Crossgates, Colonie Center, Latham Circle, Clifton Country Mall.”

They shifted to freestanding locations, he said, to invest in real estate and to control their hours, rather than follow the mall’s dictates.
“That was a big thing for us. My brother and I were young, starting families. We each have four children.

“Growing up, my father worked a lot. That’s how he was able to build a successful business. But it came at a price. You can’t be there for your family as much as you want. He didn’t deprive us of anything but his time.

“My father and my entire family came to this country in the mid 70s,” from Lebanon, he said.

“They came to the U.S. with nothing. Couldn’t speak the language. My father started doing whatever he could to save the money to open his first jewelry store. That meant working 12 to 18 hour days.

“For us to be in a position that we can cut back and still be successful, that is a estament to his hard work and success.”

When Louis Jewelers owner Louis Carciobol (right) decided to retire, he sought the Hannoush bothers (David Hannoush at left) to purchase his store. Chronicle photo/Cathy DeDe
Elias opened the original Albany store in 1984.

There are more than 50 Hannoush Jewelry store across the country, all independently owned by family members, including 36 first cousins, David said.

“My brother and I started working when we were about eight and 10 years old respectively, doing different things throughout the store, polishing jewelry, wiping down cases, just learning the ins and outs.

“From high school, Albert went directly to the Gemological Institute of America. He was one of the first if not the first Graduate Gemologist in the Capital District. That was in the early 90s and he’s been full time ever since.

David says he came back into the business full-time 22 years ago, after first going to law school and practicing law in Washington, D.C., “for a couple years.”

“Hands down,” he says he prefers “owning your own business. It’s a great opportunity, if you can do it.”

Their father “still pops in and out,” and helped them set up this location. Their mother, Georgette, did the decorating.

The brothers’ four children each range in age from9 to 22.

“Everyone works in the stores, at least during holidays. We are hoping at least one child of his and one of mine ends up in the business full-time.”

David said he and his brother will take turns at the Queensbury location, “a couple hours every other day.” Their main office is at the Wolf Road location.

“Our biggest investment so far has been in our people,” including Queensbury store manager Jennifer Carusone, formerly of Scoville Jewelers.

“Our specialty is diamonds and diamond jewelry,” David Hannoush said. “But we consider ourselves a true full service jewelry store. We provide all the basic services, simple repairs, watch batteries and adjustments up to the most intricate custom design jobs. We can reimagine your existing jewelry into something brand new.

“Engagement rings and wedding bands are a very big part of our business, but we work with everything from diamonds to colored gemstones, all precious metals.”

They also offer watches, “in this location, Reliance, Seiko, Movado, and Michele.”

“Yes,” he says, “people still buy jewelry.” With the Internet, “they’ll come in knowing what they want versus needing to browse.”

He said, “Diamonds are always in fashion. It’s just, what shapes are coming and going, or how they’re being set into the jewelry that’s changing.”

“A lot of our bridal jewelry is items that we make and sell ourselves,” David said. “We buy a large number of loose diamonds and assemble them into our own mountings and settings. We’re not just retailers that happen to sell jewelry. We’re actually jewelers.”

“We’re not heavy into bridal lines, but one of our successful partners is Gabriel & Company. I met them at a trade show, we hit it off and we’ve been carrying their line for about 10 years now.

“They’re another independently owned family business, out of New York City, almost the same story: They’re two brothers, Dominick and Jack, and they are actually Lebanese, Lebanese Christians, which is even more unique to us.”

Hannoush: Mined vs lab-grown diamonds & real ones’ origins

Chronicle Managing Editor Cathy DeDe writes: David Hannoush, co-owner with his brother Albert of the newly opened Hannoush Jewelers on Route 9 in Queensbury, advocates for natural “earth mined” diamonds, versus lab-grown, “for their rarity, their value, for just the history of it.:

He says, with lab-grown, “A lot of people think they’re purchasing something more environmentally friendly, or more sustainable that’s something of value. None of that is really true.

“It’s actually got a larger carbon footprint to manufacture one lab grown than it does to mine an earth grown.”

He said, “We try to educate the best we can, to tell people, You’re buying a technology more than a commodity.

“We analogize it to televisions: What you can buy one year for $1,000, that following year is going to be on sale in the big box stores for 50% off. As the technology improves, the value of this platform will continue to decrease.”

Regarding so-called “blood diamonds,” from exploited people, Mr. Hannough maintains, “The odds of somebody actually having a diamond on their finger that had anything to do with any sort of horrific conditions, it’s very rare.

“Less than 3% of all diamonds in circulation in the entire world come from those regions of Africa,” infamously depicted in the movies.

“There’s so many sourcing qualifications and certifications you have to go through that it’s almost impossible to filter in new diamonds today, not just from Africa, but now also with the U.S. embargo on diamonds from Russia.”

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