My Life

Did You Know that Fortunoff Was Back?

Did you know that Fortunoff was back?

Fortunoff’s was established in 1922 in Brooklyn by Max and Clara Fortunoff. At some point, the business opened on Long Island and was a staple in Westbury for as long as I could remember.

When I was young, I remember going to Fortunoff’s with my parents for housewares. As I had a home of my own, I remember going there for dishes, fine china, housewares and of course, fine jewelry.

My wedding band and other special pieces were purchased there through the years. Fortunoff’s was the place that I would go to buy gifts for special occasions and, my husband would purchase gifts for me there too.

My most treasured pieces come from Fortunoff’s. So, when I got a tweet that they were open, I decided to stop by. (Who says Twitter doesn’t bring in business?)

Fortunoff’s Jewelry is located on Old Country Road in Westbury. The old store still stands there with the name on the building, however, no one is in there. There are two Fortunoff’s now — Fortunoff’s backyard and Fortunoff’s Jewelry.

When my husband and I drove there the other day, we weren’t quite sure where it would be located. But we found it pretty quickly.

As we left our car, we heard a man scream, “you ran over my foot!” And, in the parking lot, there was a lot of “tumult.” We ignored it, an ambulance was on its way and there wasn’t much we could do. So, we walked into the store.

“Hi, welcome to Fortunoff’s,” the woman behind the counter said. There were an abundance of sales people waiting for their next customer. “Is this your first time?”

We told her yes. I explained that it was a tweet that brought me in. “Oh, Esther is right over there,” she said. Esther Fortunoff, the owner, was busy talking with some other customers. When she was finished, she came over and greeted us.

“Esther, I’m Hilary Topper. Not sure if you remember me,” I said.

“Of course,” she told me smiling, “I see you all over the place.” I smiled back.

“Let me know if I can help with anything,” she said.

The salesperson who helped us was wonderful. She wasn’t pushy. She followed us around the store and showed us lots of different pieces. (We were there for my birthday and Mother’s Day.)

“How long have you been here?” I asked.

“It’s now going on two years,” she told me. I was surprised that I didn’t even know it was there. We’ve bought lots of beautiful pieces through the years and when they went out of business the first time, we felt we had no place to go to get nice jewelry. We had gone to some other jewelry stores through the years, but it wasn’t the same. The pieces were always significantly nicer at Fortunoff’s than anywhere else.

As she was showing us a pearl chandelier earring, the man with the foot walked in. “I can’t believe my foot was run over,” he said.

“Do you want a chair?” the security guard asked. “You should really sit.”

“No, I told the ambulance to go away,” he said. “I came here to buy something for my wife and that’s what I’m going to do.”

The thought of his foot being run over by a car gave me the quivers. I felt bad but the guy didn’t seem to be in much pain. So, again, I tried to ignore him.

One piece that was calling my name was a lovely pair of daisy earrings. I tried them on, along with multiple other pairs. Most were hanging pairs, but the daisies were buttons. I fell in love. There was something about them that was so special. So, we ended up buying them.

There was always something special about Fortunoff’s and there still is. Esther has an eye for beautiful jewelry and she did an incredible job rebuilding the brand. I’m so glad that she re-opened and that I finally have a go to store to go to when looking for amazing jewelry.

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