860-649-2908 | 849 Main St., Manchester, CT 06040

History

Thank you for visiting and I hope you'll enjoy the articles, memories, and photos! Feel free to submit your writings about the shop if you would like to see them here!!

Before we get into the history behind the shop, let us first thank all of our customers that have made this possible over the years. And for them, this page will hopefully provide a nice sight-seeing expedition through our history.

If your new to the shop, and this is your first time visiting, we invite you to take a peek at our shop from its infancy up through to today! Below you will find articles, and some of our favorite photos, that help tell the story of our past here in Manchester.

Harvest: a cornucopia of design and style
Harvest is every inch a reflection of its owners' personalities

Manchester Herald, November 1, 1986

Harvest Beads and SilverAn ex-Navy man with a braid and a full beard who wanted to make macrame hangings. A strawberry blond education major who liked to work with her hands. A $600 personal loan. And the name "Harvest".

These were the elements that started a successful retail operation on Main Street that has flourished for more than 13 years while many others around it have come and gone.

Back in 1972, those young, hippie-looking newlyweds, Karen and Jerry Satriano, almost didn't make it back to Connecticut to plant the seed for the store located at 476 Main Street that is every inch a reflection of the personalities and tastes.

On their way back from a six month stint in the promised land of Colorado, the couple's green ex-telephone truck, being towed by a rental truck, came unhitched in the middle of Indianapolis, Ind.

Harvest Beads and SilverThey returned to Connecticut broke and looking for a place to establish roots. "I'm a roots person," says Jerry, whose brisk speech pattern reflects his upbringing in the Bronx.

After obtaining the $600 loan from a friend, the Satrianos opened their first shop, featuring beads, Jerry's macrame and 50-cent potted plants. The tiny store, located on Route 44 in Canton, lasted only three months. The owners weren't comfortable with the location or with the business it attracted primarily tourists.

Their hunt for a place to open a similar shop brought them to a three-story shingled house next to the vacant Lincoln School, and across from the post office, a package store, a locksmith and a massage parlor. The house looked pretty good at night, and the fact that it had a second-floor apartment where they could live clinched the Satrianos' decision to take it.

But when they returned during the day, they were dismayed. It took all the elbow grease, paint and ingenuity the young couple could muster to make it workable and livable. Their efforts gradually transformed the shop on the first floor into and eclectic showcase for unusual jewelry, imports, and gift items. The Satrianos named the shop "Harvest," partly after the Neil Young album of the same name and partly because the name would not limit what they offered, according to Karen.

Harvest Beads and SilverThe barn beams the couple hung in the bay window were originally for the plants. Now they hold Austrian lead crystal, in a myriad of prism shapes, which captures the morning sun coming through the window.

The large macrame hanging on the front door was the last piece Jerry had time to make. He's now primarily involved in the business of the store.

An instead of macrame and plants, every inch of the tiny first floor is filled with unusual objects.

Upon entering the shop, the customer's eye is bombarded with a plethora of colors, designs and shapes.

Side by side on a wall are a parasol and a straw hat from China, bedspreads and scarves from India, leg warmers from Afghanistan and printed cloth from Holland.

Laid out in neat rows in the heavy oak and glass display cases are shiny gold bracelets, vintage silver rings and colorful cloisonne barrettes. Dangling earrings are shaped like hearts and stars, bows and leaves. Karen designed many of them.

Harvest Beads and SilverOne entire case is filled with dozens of tiny containers of colorful beads made of rocks, shells, wood or silver. Funky eyeglasses sit on the counter next to the old-fashioned telephone. Customers are intrigued by the phone and are surprised to see that it works.

Quietly blending in behind the counters are Jerry, who is on the phone or offering to help a customer, and Karen, who is making jewelry or rearranging the displays.

On top of one jewelry case is a large rectangular glass case filled with interesting figurines of sorcerers, wizards, and geodes. "It is a real eye-catcher," says Jerry.

Harvest does not cater to the latest fads, Jerry points out. "I would even carry an owl, if it's a nice one," he says, referring to a passe craze.

Another large stand-up case tucked back in an alcove attracts curious looks and another type of clientele. It is filled with all shapes of pipes and other items Jerry calls "novelties and gadgets" for smoking. But he balks at the mention of the word "drugs." Any customer who mentions the word, or talks about a specific drug, is asked to leave the store, the Satrianos claim.

By providing the items in the locked case, Jerry says he is leaving the burden of the decision on the customers. The presence of the case has never been challenged by law enforcement officials or residents of the community, he says.

The Ticketron operation, in a tiny room at the rear of the store, draws another type of customer, and brings in a lot of new business, the Satrianos say.

Ticketron brings in "the whole spectrum," says Jerry. "The people are just fabulous. People come in looking for their tickets to Aida' with a look on their faces that says, This can't be the place to buy opera tickets. There is no carpet.'" He laughs. "That's part of the fun, turning the customers around." Some of those opera-goers have become regular Harvest customers.

Although the long lines that some big concerts draw to Ticketron can become unmanageable, the Satrianos say they have had no major problems, and they've only had to call the police three times to assure an orderly line. Jerry appoints line monitors to keep order, and he says the system works.

Harvest Beads and SilverWhat is the biggest attraction of Harvest? "The store," Jerry answers quickly. "The store is a collection in itself."

But Karen comes to the defense of her beaded jewelry, which has become well-known. "People come the farthest for the beads," she said telling about college girls who journey to the store to buy for the friends in Vermont and New Hampshire.

The Satrianos say traditional advertising isn't necessary. They prefer to rely on the word of their loyal customers, which they refer to as "The Harvest Alumni Association."

Although Harvest draws everyone from Boy Scout leaders seeking beads for projects to the opera buffs, Jerry says the shop has a limited appeal.

"What you are getting is a very personal point of view. I would just as soon appeal to the kind of person who comes in because they are intrigued," Jerry says.

The customer's reaction upon entering the store is either one of awe or familiarity. Helen Datson of Manchester, says she has been going to Harvest for about 10 years. She used to make her own jewelry from the beads. "I love it. I'd come in more if I had more money."

Sherri Carleton of Coventry made her first trip to Harvest to buy some coveted tickets to a Halloween event. She was enamored by the gold jewelry and the overall atmosphere of the shop. "It's neat; it's different; it's unique. You don't see many places like this anymore."

Carleton's friend, Cindy Carpenter of Coventry, expressed interest in learning how to make jewelry and asked Karen if she would consider starting lessons. Harvest had a silversmithing operation for a brief period -- it "lasted about a week, about as long as the waterbeds" they considered selling, according to Jerry. But Karen says they might consider making the silver jewelry again.

The Satrianos say they are not interested in moving the store, expanding in size or changing the special atmosphere they have worked hard to create. But they no longer work until midnight, as they often did when they lived above the shop, and they run the business in a very traditional manner. They keep strict hours, and one of them is almost always in the store when it is open, except for an occasional Saturday when part-timers take over.

Karen says she feels a strong tie to the community, but the Satrianos do not feel a bond to the Manchester business community. They are not members of the chamber of commerce, and they don't participate in promotions by merchants' groups. But they say they have many friends among non-traditional business people like themselves.

They talk of many friends they have made among their customers, some of whom have become part-time employees. "Familiarity is more important than someone's ability to sell or make jewerly," says Jerry.

Jerry and Karen agree that the financial success and longevity of their business is attributable to their equal partnership in running it and their enjoyment of people.

The Satrianos choose to measure their business success in personal terms, rather than in monetary terms.

"At times I consider us an established business and at other times, it's the same old lemonade stand," Jerry says. He and his wife agree that the greatest asset in having the business is the type of lifestyle it affords them.

One of those aspects is that their son, Adam, 6, has been able to be with them in the store since he was a newborn. "We don't divorce this as business time and this as family time," says Jerry.

Harvest Beads and SilverWorking together as a couple makes each partner more aware of the other's problems, Jerry says.

Now in their mid-30s, Jerry and Karen enjoy calling themselves "old hippies," even though their appearances defy the image. And the telephone truck has long since been replaced with a pair of Chryslers: a shiny black sedan and a station wagon. The no longer live above the store, but have a modest home in the country.

The neighborhood has changed a lot in the last 13 years. Neighboring Lincoln School has become Lincoln center. The Odd Fellows Building is gone. The massage parlor burned down. The old dance studio has been converted to a shelter for the homeless.

And the Satrianos mention one other subtle change. People used to say Harvest was "that shop across the street from the post office." Now they say the post office is across from Harvest.


Baubles, bangles, beads in plentiful Harvest

The Journal Inquirer, September 1, 1983

Picture yourself engulfed in the yearly pre-holiday shopping rush. The scene is chaotic. The lines are atrocious. Customer are dragging their small children to and fro, rushing frantically to find the right gifts for friends and relatives. Sounds familiar, right? Don't fret. This year you could go to Harvest Beads & Silver Shop on Main Street. Jerry and Karen Satriano, co-owners of the shop, have been offering an alternative to the mainstream shopping circuit for the last 10 years.

The Harvest store is small and compact, leading customers to do what Satriano calls the "small shop shuffle." But those who seek shelter there from the hustle-bustle atmosphere of bigger stores likely will emerge with an affordable, unique and usually hand-finished gift. The couple has mixed modern Ticketron equipment, which spews out passes to concert appearances by performers like guitarist Joe Walsh and singer Englebert Humperdinck, with a broad selection of jewelry-making components. "I've given up trying to divorce Harvest from Ticketron and Ticketron from Harvest," Satriano said recently. "It's all tied together."

Harvest Beads and SilverThe upshot of the combination is that many people who go to the shop for the first time to get tickets it's the only Ticketron outlet in town end up coming back to buy gifts because they like what they've seen.

The shop carries a variety of stringing material including clasps, beads, and earwires. The selection allows customers to put together their own one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry, but Satriano emphasizes that his establishment is not craft-oriented per se.

"We have absolutely no kits it's all a la carte," he says. "It's the kind of shop that if you want to take your time and create your own kind of jewelry, it can be done. My customers have made some pretty unique jewelry. It's unique because they honestly make it themselves."

For those who don't consider themselves artistic enough for jewelry-making, the couple carries a raft of hand-finished, American-Victorian, antique-inspired bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings.

The Satrianos also stock items from different parts of the globe, including knitted boots from Afghanistan and hand-crafted pottery from Mexico. Asian art objects and fabrics adorn the wall, and the glass case next to the Ticketron machine is filled with quality leather wallets and belts.

The inventory of hand-finished merchandise and smoking accessories, combined with the faint smell of incense that permeates the air, gives the shop what Satriano admints is a '60s aura.

"You can't help thinking about incense, beads, bangles and fabric on the ceiling without having that image of the '60s," Satriano says. He added, however, that he doesn't consider his shop to be a part of a "subculture."

"There has always been a culture, sometimes a subculture, in this country of people working with their hands," Satriano says. "What you put in your peripheral vision is up to you. Some people call handcrafted quality a subculture. It is, if you want to surround yourself in plastic."

Manchester has been quite supportive of the Satrianos' concept of what a "town shop" should be. The Harvest doors opened on July 5, 1973, and have stayed open ever since.

"The town is mellow enough to support a shop like this," Satriano says. "It's down-home enough that everyone keeps their eyes straight ahead. THey don't look down at you and they don't look up to you."

As Satriano pointed out, dealing with the public and pleasing customers over and over again hasn't always been easy. But the Satrianos have developed a firm, honest approach which has kept shoppers coming back.

Perhaps the repeat customers can sense that Karen and Jerry are two shopkeepers who are quite content with themselves and their environment.

"I think both of us eventually would have been shopkeepers," Satriano says. "It gives you an opportunity to develop a lot of different mental, emotional and spiritual skills."

"Many people consider this the only real store in the area," he concluded. "It depends on your perspective."


Harvest Beads and Silver celebrates milestone in Manchester

The Journal Inquirer, April 26, 2003

When a burglar snatched Patricia Skoog's Christmas gifts out from under her tree, Jerry Satriano chipped in to help.

Skoog had purchased hundreds of dollars of jewelry for her daughter and granddaughter from Harvest Beads and Silver, owned by Satriano and his wife, Karen.

When Skoog went to Harvest to replace the stolen gifts, Satriano didn't charge her anything.

"He just gave them to me and said 'Merry Christmas,'" Skoog recalls of that day in 1988.

That's the kind of customer rapport the Satrianos take pride in. And they credit it with helping keep their artsy store thriving for 30 years.

Harvest Beads and Silver

Previous location 476 Main St., Manchester, CT (1973 - 1990)

Harvest opened on March 17, 1973 Jerry Satriano's 24th birthday with $600 borrowed from a friend. It was located in Canton for a few months before the couple relocated to Manchester.

"In the early years we took no vacations and worked every day," Jerry Satriano says, adding that times were particularly tough in the early '80s, when inflation devalued their inventory.

"We kind of white-knuckled through that period," he remembers.

The store on Main Street served both as a home and a place of business for the couple and their son. It was a popular ticket outlet back in the day and often attracted long lines.

It moved in 1990 to make way for a proposed Town Hall. Plans for the site later changed.

Some things never change
Now the store is located on 44 Oak Street, tucked a couple blocks away from Main Street. It offers tapestries, jewelry, hemp products, and hundreds of beads of every color, size, and shape imaginable.

Jerry Satriano says the store sometimes is accused of "being stuck in the late '70s," but maintains it still has a draw.

"Bottom line, this stuff is all handmade. That's a unifying thing for people," he says.

Harvest Beads and SilverKaren Satriano designs the jewelry and works with staff on a variety of items: earrings, bracelets, bookmarks, and headdresses for proms.

The store also offers free demonstrations on beading and jewelry-making.

To Dylan Beckett, 19, of Manchester, that's the best part of the job. He started working at Harvest in November at the urging of his parents, who are longtime store customers.

Karen Satriano says most of her staffers started as customers. As such, they make it a point to provide high quality service.

"They don't just cash you out," she says.

Nothing homogenized here
The shop fits in with other businesses on Main Street that don't fit a "cookie cutter" mold, says Tana Parseliti, manager of the Downtown Manchester Special Services District.

"It's nice to look and see how they started in tough times, and 30 years later they are still here," Parseliti says.

Harvest Beads and Silver

Front room with very creaky floor!

Carli Tarin, a massage therapist in Manchester, frequents the store to take in the smell of burning incense and check out the jewelry.

"It's so inviting and creative," she says. "Everything is so homogenized these days. You can't find this stuff in the mall."

Patricia Skoog, a program director for the Kellogg House, a shelter for adolescent boys in Vernon, says Harvest also has reached out to her nonprofit group. When she went in to purchase two $50 gift certificates for a fund-raiser, Satriano gave her another two gift certificates for free.

"I'm just so grateful they've been able to survive," she says.


An alternative to the holiday hustle -
Unique store has undergone changes over lifetime

The Journal Inquirer, December 12, 1998

For anyone not looking forward to the hustle, long lines, and traffic at any of the area's malls this holiday season, the owners of Harvest Bead & Silver say their store offers and alternative.

Actually, the store, located at 44 Oak Street in the downtown area, has been around the last 25 years, a landmark its owners are celebrating.

"People say 'I can't believe you are still here, and I'm so glad you're still here,'" says Karen Satriano, who runs the store with her husband, Jerry. "That really means a lot."

The Satrianos say they are glad to still be around.

Harvest Beads and Silver

Walking in the front door, customers are greeted with the distinctive smell of incense. The store is bursting with all kinds of merchandise, including wind chimes, sterling silver rings among several kinds of jewelry belts, wallets, tapestries, candles and candle holders, Native American medicine bowls, cards, mirrors, and tie-dyed clothing.

And, of course, there are beads, scores of them, of all colors, shapes, and sizes.

"Bede" is the Arabic word for prayer, Jerry explains.

"That's how you get into the whole metaphysical presence," Jerry says. "Almost every country and culture creates a bead," Karen adds.

In Africa, for instance, Karen remarks, beads are a sign of wealth.

Although located off Main Street, Harvest Beads & Silver has a steady flow of customers, the owners say, adding they have probably served patrons spanning three generations.

Customers who once bought items from the store are now coming in with their teen-aged children, Karen says.

Harvest Beads and Silver
The store allows customers to make their own jewerly, with the owners providing instruction as needed. Karen, who designs jewelry for the store, says some customers may find making their own jewelry frustrating.

"They'll say, 'I'll pay you, you make it,'" she explains. Karen designed a window hanging made out of Austrian lead crystals which someone asked to have slightly varied and copied.

The owners say they have items for every price range. A senior citizen recently came to the store looking for 18 necklaces for $20.

"It was for the senior center to do a project, and they had to have enough beads," Jerry says.

The couple say they are able to keep a their finger on waht younger people are going for these days by listening to their customers, but they also credit their staff.

"We're always looking for people who like to work with their hands," Jerry says. It's necessary for any employee at Harvest Beads & Silver to know the craft, and to be able to teach others, Karen says. "Now you have to help people," she says.

Karen says she would like to extend her gratitude to the people of Manchester who have supported Harvest Beads & Silver through the years. "We're so glad we're here."

The store has gone through some changes over its lifetime. Jerry and Karen opened the store on Manchester's Main Street in 1973.

"We were married for around nine months and were working multiple part-time jobs," Jerry explains. "The opportunity presented itself."

Their parents didn't receive the idea too warmly at first, the couple says.

"They said What are you going to do when you grow up?'" Karen recalls with a smile.

The store then moved from its location on Main Street to Oak Street around nine years ago. In the back of the store hangs a series of photographs recording Harvest Bead & Silver over the years, including a picture of what the space looked like before it was renovated.

Harvest Beads and Silver"That's a keeper," Jerry says, laughing while he looks at the picture. "We had to knock a wall down, and put new walls up."

By the time the store was in its second year, back at the Main Street location, it became an outlet for Ticketron, selling tickets to concerts featuring stars like The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Neil Diamond.

"We were selling tickets before the age of computers," Jerry says. "We had the actual tickets in a shoe box."

The system became computerized around 1975, Jerry recalls. Harvest Beads & Silver was the only Ticketron outlet in town. Customers came from all over, and waited in long lines, to buy tickets. "It was incredible. You literally had 1,000 people waiting for you."

When Ticketron became Ticketmaster around eight years ago, "they shut down all the moms and pops," Jerry says.

Losing the ticket-selling business was daunting, and the couple did love dealing with the people, but Jerry says it wasn't the worst thing that could have happened.

"I was unsure because it was such an integral part of the business for so many years," Jerry says. "But the ticket business got quite cut throat. By the time it left, the business had changed so dramatically, the nature had changed, that most of the customers in line were no longer getting tickets. Most of the time they were selling out. It was no longer as positive an experience as it had been in the past."

Such an attituce is what has made the store a success, Jerry says.

"I'm okay with change. This was a change that was out of my control," Jerry says, noting that the store had to deal with change when it moved from Main Street to Oak Street. "After that, you try to do the best you can with what you've got."

Harvest Beads & Silver will be open Sundays before Christmas from noon until 5 p.m. Those Sundays are Dec. 13 and 20. Normal business hours are from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, except for Thursday, when the store stays open until 8 p.m.

Extended hours are offered during the holiday season. For more information, call (860) 649-2908.