Pucci’s, longtime West Boylston jeweler, will close on January 29
WEST BOYLSTON – Casey DeAndrade presented his now fiancÃ©e Emma Compagna on December 23 with a pretty cushion-cut diamond lying on a gold band he bought from Pucci’s Diamonds & Fine Jewelry.
DeAndrade didn’t know much about rings, Compagna said, except that she preferred a simple style.
“I’m not the frilly girl,” Compagna said last Wednesday afternoon when she and DeAndrade stopped by Pucci to have the ring resized.
Fortunately, DeAndrade has a good connection in the jewelry business. He and Mike Pucko, who has owned Pucci’s with his wife, Paula, since 1987, are both assistant coaches for the Holy Cross football team. Mike helped DeAndrade design a personalized ring for Compagna.
âHe’s been great with us,â DeAndrade said. “I owe Coach Pucko a lot in more than one way.”
For the past three plus decades, the personal touch of Pucci has been the lifeblood of the business, and over the years Pucci’s most effective advertising has been word of mouth. Three generations of a Sterling family have purchased engagement rings, wedding bands and wedding rings at Pucci’s, Mike said.
Mike and Paula, who were longtime residents of West Boylston before moving to Princeton a few years ago, have cultivated their dedicated clientele through their close ties in the community as well as Mike’s football connections.
Mike, who has just completed his third season as HC’s defensive line coach, was previously an assistant at Assumption and head coach at Holy Name High and West Boylston High. A framed photo of Emil Igwenagu, one of Pucko’s stars in Holy Name, who played five seasons in the NFL, hangs behind Pucci’s glass main counter.
“The contacts that I made in the world of football opened up markets for us to bring people in and then take care of them, and it spread,” said Mike. â(Pucci’s) has been an outlet for us to see the kids I’ve coached. They keep coming back, sometimes just to say hello.
Pucci closes on January 29
After nearly 35 years under the ownership of the Puckos and over 30 years at its current location at 205 West Boylston St., Pucci will close on January 29.
âIt was the moment for us,â said Mike.
Pucci’s announced its âretirement saleâ (30% to 40% store-wide off) on November 1, and since then business has been âinsane,â Paula said.
âYou see the response in the last couple of months and it makes you feel guilty to shut down,â Mike said, âbut it’s about time.â
The building could potentially be purchased and remain a jewelry store, Mike said, but it won’t be named Pucci.
In the 1980s Mike was working in construction and Paula was doing her books while raising their three young children. Excited by a new opportunity, they purchased Pucci’s Jewelers, then located in downtown Worcester, in 1987.
The late Bob Pucci opened the original Pucci’s Jewelers in Worcester at 1018 Main St. in the early 1970s. The store was a city staple specializing in gold jewelry, such as chains, crosses, signet rings and the Claddagh earrings.
âWe didn’t know anything about jewelry,â said Paula, âbut we said,â We’re going to try it, âand here we are 35 years later.
Learned on the job
Paula became a business leader and Mike took courses at the Gemological Institute of America. Together, they discovered jewelry, industry, sales, customer service and business management, and Pucci’s expanded its product offering to include diamonds, its specialty, and gemstones.
âWe had to really develop the diamond ring and the wedding ring aspect to make it really stand out,â Mike said. “Diamond engagement rings, wedding rings, and anniversary rings, these are by far our main things, the emotional staples that people won’t buy online.”
Pucci moved to the larger West Boylston location in September 1991, and the four longtime Puckos employees Nancy Trottier, jeweler John Scully, Mary Jane Jenket, and Dee Dee Wilson walked them every step of the way.
âIt’s like a family,â said Paula.
During the COVID shutdown in the spring of 2020, Pucci closed for 10 weeks.
âWe didn’t know what was going to happen,â Paula said. âOur customers have supported us so much. When we reopened after those 10 weeks it was like Christmas everyday. People wanted to spend money on something that lasts. They weren’t traveling. They weren’t going to dine out. We have never been so busy. It continued until Christmas (2020) and all this year, and then when we announced this retirement sale, it was crazy. People buy anything and everything.
During an interview last Wednesday, Paula wore a stunning ring with a deep aquamarine stone (her birthstone) surrounded by diamonds on her right ring finger.
âMy retirement gift for myself,â she said.
Paula and Mike will both be 69 this year. Paula is looking forward to spending more time with their 7, 5 and 2 year old grandchildren, exercising and seeing more Holy Cross football games.
âWhen you own a business,â she said, âit takes a long time. “
Pucci was open seven days a week. In recent years it has moved from Tuesday to Saturday with extended hours on Wednesday and Thursday.
The passion for coaching continues
Mike will continue to coach. He has always coached locally, which has helped him balance his busy professions. Division 1 college training has been a longer commitment.
Mike was away from the store when Holy Cross made his playoff run and played until December, but he certainly enjoyed being a part of HC’s historic 2021 season. The Crusaders won a national playoff game for the first time.
Over the years, Pucci’s has been very proud to sponsor and support the Pop Warner and Little League teams, as well as the Scout and Boy Scout troops in town, and to be truly part of the fabric of the community, which has shown his appreciation for the quality, selection and quality of Pucci. knowledgeable and affable staff, as well as the commitment and kindness of Mike and Paula Pucko.
For the past two months, customers and city dwellers alike have stopped by the store to say thank you. On the Saturday before Christmas, a local family brought meals for the Puckos and their staff.
âIn retail,â said Mike, âyou have your ups and downs, but the response has been overwhelmingly good. You think, ‘OK, we’ve done our job.’ It was all worth it. “
Contact Jennifer Toland at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @JenTandG