POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – Albano Appliance & Service, one of Pound Ridge’s most iconic businesses, celebrated its 60th anniversary Thursday night with a party that also marked its 10th season of cooking demos and classes.
The high-end appliance store was packed with town dignitaries and friends, along with area architects and interior designers – Albano’s primary customers – who sampled food cooked by appliance manufacturer representatives.
“My grandfather started this business in 1952,” Fred Albano said as he greeted his guests. “He started out just selling cookware. He was also a licensed electrician, but was more of a Mr. Fix It kind of guy.”
When Albano’s father and uncle took over, the business started adding appliances and electronics to its inventory.
“This is a third-generation business,” Albano said. “Our family rule was that when you turned 10, you had to start working here. When I was a kid, we were an ‘almost-everything’ store.”
Under Fred Albano’s management, the store shifted to strictly high-end appliances, from ranges and ovens to refrigerators and washer/dryers. His partners include Phil DeRoberts and Michael Napioli.
“Every year we seem to get a little bigger,” Albano said.
He said Thursday night’s soiree also marked the 10th year of the store’s cooking demonstrations.
“We actually teach people how to use the equipment that we sell them,” he explained. “We do both groups and private instruction. We don’t just sell them something and forget about it. We stick with them – and that includes service.”
Ruth Mendes, a member of the Pound Ridge Business Association, said that ever since she has lived in town, Albano’s has been the “go-to” place for kitchenware and appliances.
“They are a major draw to the business district,” she said. “People come from Scarsdale and Greenwich and White Plains, and they end up having lunch here. [The Albanos] are great supporters and contributors to the Pound Ridge business community.”
Albano is also a member of the Pound Ridge Business Association’s board of directors.
“When Fred comes to a meeting, the question he always asks is, ‘What can I do?’ ” Mendes said.
At the party, people strolled from room to room sampling cuisine that ranged from gourmet pizza to rotisserie roast beef to grilled shrimp in a polenta sauce. Ron Frantz, a sales representative for Capital Cooking, a manufacturer of ranges and ovens, carved up a roast beef as he sang the praises of working with the Albanos.
“I’ve been in this business for 25 years and [Albano’s] is my favorite customer,” he said. “This is the kind of store more people need to support. It’s an old-school family-run business with its own service department, which you don’t see too much anymore.”