New Connellsville business is truly a family affair
By Nancy Henry
Published: Wednesday, November 3, 2010
A new Connellsville business, Jessica Roi's Gems, is truly a family affair.
The name is a combination of mother Roianne Gailey and daughters Jessica Gailey and Gemma Galley. The business was started as a result of cousin Terri Molinaro's concern for Roianne, who has multiple sclerosis.
Located at 426 N. Pittsburgh St., any number of family members can be found there helping out. Lorraine Molinaro Guynn, Roianne's mother, does the store decor and reminisces about the years gone by.
"My fondest memory is Christmas shopping in downtown Connellsville with my mom when Roianne was just a baby. She was in a stroller and we would take her to my Uncle Amedeo's tailor shop right behind G.C. Murphy's while we shopped. At that time there were five tailors in town. We would visit Howard's Outlet, McCrory's, Fisher's and of course, Troutman's with Santa in the window. Music would be playing throughout town, snowflakes were coming down, Connellsville was a booming little town. Everyone knew everyone. I can remember Dougie and Melvin Smith helping us carry our packages because we had so many. The movie, 'A Christmas Story' always reminds me of how Connellsville was back then," said Lorraine.
The beading began when Roianne needed therapy on her hand due to the Multiple Sclerosis.
"My cousin Terri said she had lots of beads and she would bring them over to my house and I could get my hand moving that way. Pretty soon I was creating all kinds of jewelry and calling my mom, who lives behind us, asking her to come over time after time to see what I had made. Then I started going to fall festivals and my creations sold," said Roianne.
By then she had beads all throughout her house and her husband Frank suggested she needed to take them somewhere. She has always gone to Val Rumbaugh for massages so when a space became available in Rumbaugh's it was perfect. With family members' help, Jessica Roi's Gems became a part of Connellsville's revitalization. It is located in the same building as Bull Of The Woods where unique T-shirts, hoodies and sweats are sold. The two businesses help promote each other.
"We work together to get people through the door, we want to keep customers here in town, we want to see more people walking around the city," said Roianne.
"I have been in a wheelchair, had a walker and a cane for 20 years. I've been very, very sick many times. I've had seizures and both hips replaced. I have pain everyday. This business gets me up and going. Everyone in my family is a part of this. My husband now beads. He's the most artistic. He makes the classic pieces that sell out fast.
My son-in-law, Eric Galley, who is 6-foot, 4-inches and works on gas wells, creates the children's section. No two pieces are alike, they are all original. My daughters help me order the beads because we all have different tastes. We name the sets. Some examples are 'I'm Yours' and 'I'm Dreaming Of You.' None of them cost more than $25 and they all have easy closures, either toggles or magnets. Each now includes a little tag that says 'made for you.' Customers currently range in age from 1 to 81 years old.
My nieces and nephews like to come in the shop and bead. My 6-year-old niece has cerebral palsy and it's good therapy for her too. We are turtle fanatics so we order things like big rings with owls, flowers and butterflies. We have some sterling silver things, purses and scarves. When we order we usually have five people's opinions," said Roianne.
Now Roianne and her daughters have gotten into another project. "When my first grandson, Graysen Galley, was born he was a preemie at only 3 pounds. He was at Magee Hospital and then in Westmoreland neo-natal intensive care unit for 40 days. He is now 3-1/2 and has a 3-month-old brother, Jasper, who was born early too. They each were given the cutest little hats at the hospitals so we decided to make cupcake hats and donate them for the preemies at both places. Five of my mom's great-grandchildren have been in those units," said Roianne.
Roianne said the hats are being made by the family for older kids too and they can't make them fast enough. They are on the Jessica Roi's Gems Facebook page and have already made their way as far as Scottsdale, Ariz. The twist on the cupcake hat is the beads are added as "sprinkles" and each one is original, there are no duplicates.
"People are ordering them and want them before Christmas, so we now have my son Anthony and my cousin Paul Bennett looming hats. He is always helping out with something. Jessica is a student at California University of Pennsylvania and works at Bud Murphy's and is taking orders for cupcake hats for 20-year- olds," said Roianne.
Since the business opened, it has participated in Connellsville's geranium and mum festivals. Owners have also done home shows. "We are all animal lovers. We have a tree in the shop with boxed bracelets for $1 each and the proceeds all go to Fayette Friends of Animals. We adopted a cat there a few weeks ago and they do good work helping homeless animals," said Roianne.
Other store features include free gift wrapping with their signature bright pink paper.
The business accepts credit cards.
It plans on joining the Greater Connellsville Chamber of Commerce soon.
The business will be participating in Downtown Connellsville's It's A Connellsville Christmas event to be held Dec. 4 and 5.
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