Special to Emmaus Patch By Chrissy Cilento, Emmaus High School Senior
Business: Montero Violins
705 Chestnut St.
Owner: Mike Montero
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 11-5:30, Saturday 11-3
What you sell?
Violins, violas, cellos and orchestral accessories. We also do repairs and leasing.
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Why did you choose to locate your business in Emmaus?
I was in Syracuse and I wanted to live closer to my family in Staten Island. I picked Emmaus based on the appeal of the community and the active organizations that promote business in the borough.
How long have you been in business?
Since 2003 -- 10 years.
What inspired you to start your business?
Since I was 16 I always wanted to have my own store, be my own boss, and do something that I knew I was going to love past the so-called “retirement age.” I didn’t want to go to school for something and graduate saying, “Well, there are no jobs in my field so I guess I’ll just go back and study something for the sake of making money” and end up hating my job.
What makes your business different from the competition?
It’s not a big box operation. It’s personal service, and I like to think I get very intimate with my customers. They come in and know my name, I know what they want, they can call me and describe things over the phone, and I can come in on a Sunday if they need me to -- whereas a company that has grown so large and has multiple locations, it’s a job.
What is the most rewarding part of your business?
Twofold. When I’m teaching, the look and the smile on a student’s face that tells me that they completely understand something and they’re very happy with themselves for making that next step. From the repair side, taking someone’s instrument in and having someone tell me that it sounded better leaving than when they came in.
What’s the hardest part of your business?
I don’t know! When you’re doing something that you love, there shouldn’t be anything that is too hard for you. It should be an excitement if anything. I guess the hustle and bustle of back to school season. Back to school means rentals -- getting them all ready, getting them out the door, making sure that they’re in the classrooms on time so they can get started on the first day.
Where do you hope to see your business in the future?
In a nice old colonial structure that I can rebuild with ample lesson space for teachers to come and teach. There’s a certain charm to a well built old house that’s a violin shop.
What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
If your customers are not happy, you’re not in business.
What do you do when you aren't working?
I am a collector of U.S. coins. I enjoy landscaping and playing violin with my friends. The playing is like a release. If I work a hard shift all day long, people are like “Oh, you probably don’t want to look at your violin when you get home,” but it’s entirely different. Playing with different people and just going to another world with other professionals -- that’s relaxation.
Chrissy Cilento, a senior at Emmaus High School, plans to study journalism in college. She is a periodic contributor to Patch.