Mongillo History

Mongillo Jewelers Inc. was established in 1958 by John E. and Gloria R. Mongillo. The couple met at Bowman Technical Institute in 1940. Mr. Mongillo had graduated from Salamanca High School in 1933, and had worked at his father’s grocery store in Salamanca prior to attending watchmaking school. Mrs. Mongillo, the former Gloria DePascale, entered the Bowman Technical Institute at the same time, the only girl in a class of sixty boys. Her father owned and operated a jewelery store in Meadville, Pa., and she wished to learn the craft.  Her workbench was situated next to her future husband’s.

World War II interrupted Mr. Mongillo’s education, as he was drafted into precision manufacturing at Bendix Aviation Corp. He returned to school and graduated in late 1945, months later after his wife graduated. Mrs. Mongillo worked briefly at the Hamilton Watch Co. in Meadville, Pa., but later returned to her fathers store. Mr. Mongillo worked at McHenry’s Jewelers in Hornell, NY and later in his father-in-law’s store along with his wife. In October 1953 Mr. Mongillo came back to Salamanca at the request of Robert Johnson, owner of the former Johnson’s Jewlers at 99 Main St, Salamanca NY.

He remained there until September 1, 1958 when he and Mrs. Mongillo started in business for themselves in the Old Seneca Theater at 12 Main Street, Salamanca, New York, presently the Ray Evens Theater. They opened there while Mr. Mongillo continued to repair watches for Mr. Johnson. Mr. Mongillo took over the building at 99 Main St. and remodeled in June 1959. He opened a month later and continued there for eleven years. In May 1970 he purchased the building and fixtures of E.F. Norton Jewelers at the present location of Mongillo Jewelers, 85 Main St., which opened May 14, 1970.

Things went well, until June 1972, when flood waters wiped out the lower floor gift shop. It was nearly a year before all the merchandise was replaced in the remodeled gift shop. In 1979, their eldest son, Mark Mongillo graduated from the Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking and joined the family business as a watchmaker. In 1985, the Mongillo’s youngest son, John J. Mongillo joined the business as a goldsmith. abegan working at the store when he was 13 years old, sweepin the sidewalk, shoveling snow, vacuuming rugs and taking out the garbage. He eventually leaned the art of engraving from his father. He attend Alfred State College, where he was training to be a professional