Every month we sit down with one of our amazing ABA members to get to know them a little better! For December, we sat down with Grace from Gifts of Grace Jewelry Shoppe. We ask each member the same questions, providing an opportunity for our members to highlight the important work that they do in our communities. If you’re an ABA Member and would like to be considered for future Monthly Member Highlights, please reach out to us via email at info@altonbusinessassociation.com

Q. Tell us about your business
A. Gifts of Grace Jewelry Shoppe opened in November of 2019, and is located at 5 Monument Square in Alton, right across from the intersection of Rt 11 and Rt 140. My shoppe entrance is through the front door of the building, and then the door on your right, opposite of the Salon. We specialize in Sterling Silver jewelry, but have the connection to order 10k and 14k gold and diamond items as well. We also carry watches, and can change your watch batteries, as well as remove links from most watches for you with staring costs as low as $8.00. We also provide ear piercing services starting at $15.00 per pair, which includes the piercing. So whether you are looking for a gift, or something just to brighten your day, Gifts of Grace is here to help you on your way.

Q. Tell us about yourself

A. My name is Grace Rizzi. I have been married to Richard Rizzi for 33 years and we have two lovely children: Elizabeth, (Lizzi), and Richard Jr, (Richie). We are also pleased to have Victoria as our new daughter in law as of September.

Q. How did your business get started?

A. I started my first full time job at the age of 19 at Silver and Gold Connection in Johnson City, NY. While there, I was able to advance to a district manager and learned so much about not only jewelry, but customer service. It was way back then when in the back of my mind and in the secret place of my heart that I wondered if maybe I could one day actually own my own little jewelry store.

Later after having two children, I decided it was time to focus more on my family. Though it was a hard decision, it was one I never regretted. So, I gave my notice as a full time manager of what now was Piercing Pagoda, and took on a full time position as a stay at home mom! After a year at home, I did take a part time job at Kay Jewelers, but still was able to dedicate most of my time at home. It was there where I learned all about gems and diamonds, and received my diamondology certificate. Once again while working there I couldn’t quiet that thought in the back of my mind and in the secret place of my heart that wondered if just maybe one day I could actually own my own little jewelry store.

After moving closer to the Bennington Vermont border, it was no longer convenient to work even part time at a mall because of the distance. It was then when I decided to start my own home business. So with $300, I ordered some displays and just enough sterling silver jewelry to fit on a card table. I invited a few friends, and just as I had hoped, they liked what I had, and bought most of everything that day. So, I turned around and bought more jewelry and signed up for a local craft fair in my town. I continued to do this over and over again, building my inventory little by little so that I never had to take out a loan from a bank or credit card.

In 2006, our family moved once again to Farmington, NH, where my husband became the pastor at the First Baptist Church. While here, I continued to grow my inventory little by little, show after show. Once my children graduated from high school I began a part time job at JCPenney in the Lilac Mall in, of course, the jewelry department. It was there where I learned all about changing watch batteries. It was a lovely job, but still couldn’t quiet that question in the back of my mind and in the secret place in my heart.

In the summer of 2019 we drove past Monument Square week after week on way to our campsite at the Christian Conference in Alton Bay and kept noticing this corner spot that was empty. Once the end of the summer came, and the spot was still empty we felt that this was the answer to the ever longing question in the back of my mind and the depth of my heart: “”I wonder . . . ”

Q. What has your relationship with the Alton Business Association done for you or your business?

A. As a member of the ABA, I have been able to connect withsome of the other businesses for encouragement, as well as advice on how to get the public to notice my shoppe. I have been able to partake in several of the community outreach programs to help put a smile on someone’s face.

Q. What do you value most about this community?
A. I love the charm of Alton, as well as the spirit of wanting to help local businesses.

Q. Why did you want to open your business in this community?

A. I wanted to open my business in Alto because it was close to both my home as well as our campground. I felt that the tourism in the summer would encourage many shoppers to visit my store.

Q. What business accomplishment are you most proud of?

A. I am thankful that the doors were opened to just the possibility of opening a shoppe where I could have fair prices every day for every customer.

Q. What does the future hold for you and your business?

A. One day at a time.

Q. What is one piece of advice you wish you had as a new business owner?

A. Do not start a business until you have not just the dream, but also the experience and means to do so.
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