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Jeweler's retirement to close landmark

Bob Mauro, owner of Rossi Gold, has sold gems and baubles to Pasco customers for 15 years.

By BETH GLENN

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 6, 2000


PORT RICHEY -- Today is the last day to get your hands on any of Bob Mauro's gold.

After 15 years, the local jewelry market will lose one of its most enduring landmarks, the Rossi Gold jewelry store on U.S. 19 in Port Richey.

Bob Mauro, who with his wife, Stacie, has kept Pasco customers glittering since settling in the area from New York, said he plans to retire.

"My secret?" Mauro muses. "Treat people good and they come back. Eighty-five percent of my customers are repeat customers."

But he said business lately hasn't been what it used to be.

"The economy's good everywhere but in New Port Richey," he said. "It's not spread around evenly so it's not good for everybody, just for certain people."

That's why he said he had fewer customers this holiday season -- but those people who did come in spent lots more money with him.

"But eventually, people get enough gold, or their kids are grown or they move away . . ." and Mauro decided it's time to follow their lead.

Mauro said he has sold nearly all his business fixtures -- all that remains is the gold: rows and rolls of hefty bracelets, charms shaped like dolphins and sting rays with tiny diamonds for eyes. He said he won't reduce prices beyond the 50 percent mark but was unsure what he would do with any inventory he had left over.

What advice would he give a potential upstart?

"If you want to go into business you have to do it in volume, sell it cheaper," he said. "But these little mom and pop shops like mine, they'd never make it.

"These other stores live on custom work, which I don't do," he added.

So after today, Mauro plans to trade his jeweler's glass for a fishing rod or a racing form.

"I'm still making money, but I don't think I'm making enough to justify what I've got invested in it," said Mauro, who also repaired and appraised jewelry and watches.

He said he plans to spend his retirement in Spring Hill.

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