GLOVERSVILLE - Longtime downtown businessman Louis Castiglione Jr., owner of Castiglione Jewelers, died Saturday after battling cancer for several years.
Fulton and Montgomery County Regional Chamber of Commerce President Mark Kilmer said Castiglione was a pillar of the business community for decades and had been active in both the chamber and the Gloversville Downtown Business Association.
Kilmer said Castiglione was an innovator and one of the most important voices in establishing tourism as one of the major missions of the chamber.
Louis Castiglione Jr. is seen at his jewelry store in this photo taken last year. He died Saturday after a battle with cancer. “Gloversville has certainly lost one of the great men of our city,” Mayor Dayton King said of the man. (Leader-Herald file photo)
"His store was very successful. Castiglione's is really the cornerstone of downtown Gloversville. Lou, many years ago, he was thinking outside of the box before anyone else did - he was advertising in the Capital Region. I think that was what made his business successful, because of his marketing genius in doing that," Kilmer said. "He drew a lot of people to downtown Gloversville and to the county. He was involved in the chamber's tourism committees and he helped put together the first tourism master plan for Fulton County and since then, and I think because of him, tourism has grown into a full department of the chamber of commerce."
Matt Castiglione, one of Louis Castiglione Jr.'s two sons, said it was in 1976 that his father gave up a promising career as a marine biologist and oceanographer, a field in which he had earned a Ph.D, to take over control of the family jewelry business from Louis Castiglione Sr., Matt's grandfather, who founded the store in 1929. Matt said his father had decided to give up the relative instability of life as a scientist to settle down and start a family in Gloversville, the city he loved.
"One of his ad slogans was 'Come to Gloversville, come to Castiglione's.' He was always supportive of the city. I don't know of too many businesses who would put the city before their own enterprise in their advertisements," Matt said.
Louis Castiglione Jr. was also highly regarded for his expertise in jewelry and gemstones. Matt said his father poured his love of science into the science of jewelry, becoming a certified gemologist appraiser, one of only about a dozen to attain that rank in New York state and one of three in the Capital Region.
"He really took the business that my grandparents started and put a lot of weight behind it," he said.
Castiglione Jewelers is now run by Louis Castiglione Jr.'s son Andrew Castiglione.
Gloversville Mayor Dayton King said he was saddened to hear of Castiglione's passing.
"I had quite a bit of interaction with Lou my first year in office. We had talked many times about his vision for Main Street," King said. "He always had a smile on his face. He volunteered his time for many organizations. Gloversville has certainly lost one of the great men of our city."
As of Saturday evening, funeral arrangements for Castiglione had not been finalized. Walrath & Stewart Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.