Richard Putonti went into the custom framing business 22 years. His shop Cape House Gallery is a favorite among Tottenville locals, while some cross the bridge from New Jersey to make use of his expertise. The gallery sells everything from jewelry to fine art pieces.
What made you want to open up shop in Tottenville?
We saw that there wasn’t a lot of traffic through here, but we saw a lot of people walking and we saw there were a few schools and about 100 teachers. They were our first customers and we sold them everything, jewelry and frames. We’ve never slacked in that part of business, we’re always busy. We cater to residents.
With all the shops around, what makes you stand out?
Living here is not like living in other parts of Staten Island and doing business here is another different animal. There are very traditional people [here] generally. But we have traditional items so maybe that’s what we’re attracting. Service is very important and people want your time. I have to give them what they can’t get online.
Have any interesting characters visited the shop?
We get a lot of foreign tourists because we’re the last stop on the train. They get off and wander. We’ve gotten people from Germany and from Australia. I think they find us by accident.