All in the Family For Three Generations
Mastroieni Furniture prides itself on offering the comforts of home along with furnishings
by Jill Yris

Photography by Andrew Wilkinson

When it comes to furnishing their home, Carol and Barry Frank would rather travel to get the quality they know from a dealer they trust. That’s why they shop at Mastroieni Furniture in Montgomeryville, even though they live in Wyndmoor. “We furnished our house from top to bottom from Mastroieni’s,” says Carol. “They’re just good, honest, decent people.”

Located on Route 309 in Montgomeryville near the English Village Shoppes, Mastroieni Furniture welcomes customers to stop by and visit. Co-owner Nicholas Mastroieni says, “I don’t really make a big push here as far as sell, sell, sell. We keep it light. That’s the kind of thing we do that’s different than the other guys.”

Commission-based sales are just not the company’s style. “We take a casual approach, people come in, walk around, we talk. I have a couple of children in school and we talk about colleges and such,” he adds.

Conversations also may revolve around the old amps and guitars—a Fender, Ovation and Gibson are displayed around the showroom. Nick and his twin brother Larry Jr. were in a band when they were younger. “That was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” laughs Nick. “Not that we play any more, but rather than store them under the bed, it’s a great icebreaker.”

Home, sweet home

Through the displays and the camaraderie, customers might feel as if they were already in their new living room. Corners of the 12,500-square foot showroom are decorated with traditional, contemporary or country furniture. Vignettes, or 8-foot by 10-foot slices of real life, are characterized with accents of bright green foliage, burnished Seiko clocks, tall Stein World lamps and gold framed oval mirrors. Vivid wall paintings and pictures, shelves with books and a red Rhätische Bahm LGB train set, are all artfully arranged to garner the ambience of home.

The comfortable feeling doesn’t end there. The business is family owned and operated, and various members of the Mastroieni family can be found at work throughout the store. Larry Jr. might be placing a custom upholstery order while Larry Sr., an energetic 80-year old known as “Chief,” helps with fabric choices. From Nick’s wife Nancy to the men in the warehouse to Bonnie Rosetti who has been with the business for 12 years – it’s all in the family. And although mother Lorraine is no longer with them, her love of rich green and yellow floral tapestry lives on, displayed along the railings of the mezzanine.

Three generations

Even the history of this third-generation furniture store begins with family in Santa Lucia, Sicily. “My grandfather started out like they did in the old ethnic neighborhoods selling jewelry door to door,” Nick explains, with families gradually asking for less jewelry and more furniture. Following a move to the States, grandfather Nicola Mastroieni bought a storefront in North Philadelphia near the old Connie Mack stadium in 1926. Larry Sr. relocated the store to Montgomeryville in 1974.

“I’ve thought about how much fun it would be today to be lifting little rings and bracelets as opposed to sleeper sofas,” Nick says with a hearty laugh.

How often do people purchase furniture?

“I think the national average is every 7 to 10 years,” Nick says. Newlyweds claim the bedroom furniture prize. “They buy a bedroom set when they are married and buy a dining room set 5 to 10 years later.” Also, when the real estate business does well, “we get carried along with the wave,” he adds.

He says furniture reflects style, budget, age and even gender. Having spent his life in a showroom, what are Nick’s observations of couples buying furniture? “The husband defers to the female and says, ‘Yes, dear.’ Except for recliners – men rule!”

Current trends

Over the years, many changes have occurred in home furnishings and the Mastroieni (pronounced Mas-tro-yni) family gracefully changed with them. A decided movement towards comfy has replaced formal living and dining spaces, although the latter occasionally highlights old-world traditional styles such as 18th century Louis Phillipe designs. Home office furniture now features laptop desks, 32” high flat screen stands replace consoles and home theatre rooms boast theatre-style seating.

Brand names are also in demand. Paula Deen Home showcases a 100 percent cotton denim sofa with coordinating patterned chairs. The popular Kathy Ireland features moderately priced living and bedroom pieces. Soft white canopy beds with intricate carvings and matching side pieces by Jessica McClintock Home are for young ladies – and their romantic mothers.

In November 2007, the Delaware Valley Consumer’s Checkbook, a non-profit information resource, quality rated Mastroieni Furniture. “We were No. 2 in the entire tristate area,” notes Larry, Sr.

Mastroieni & Sons Fine Furniture
1113 Bethlehem Pike
Montgomeryville, PA 18936

Jill Yris is a freelance writer based in Doylestown.
Andrew Wilkinson is a freelance photographer based in Titusville, NJ.