Al Trapani, whose Trapani Art & Frame has been a staple of the Manhasset business community for nearly 20 years, has announced his retirement.
In an email to customers on Aug. 24, Trapani confirmed that while the Plandome Road gallery will not be closing, it would be sold to another framing company.
“I have owned my own business for almost 42 years and am planning a much needed rest,” Trapani wrote.
The business, originally known as the Frame Shop, was founded in 1990. Trapani purchased the gallery in 2000 and has run it ever since. Before that, he co-owned a sign business in Elmont, where he grew up learning woodworking from his father.
In an interview, Trapani credited the gallery’s success to his employees’ chemistry with the clients.
“It’s really the one-one-one customer service that we’ve been known for, and that’s what people have been coming to us for,” Trapani said. “We want people to enjoy themselves and we take a lot of pride in what we do, so we enjoy it as well.”
Thirteen-year employee Ramona Janson moved from Baldwin to Port Washington to be closer to the gallery. She describes Trapani as a “kind spirit” with a “great sense of humor.”
“When I first met Al, I knew that’s who I wanted to work for,” Janson said.
The gallery has framed or shadowboxed items including military uniforms, a chair from the first Yankee Stadium, and a chunk of the Berlin Wall.
“A young man will come in with a parent’s war medals from WWII or Vietnam, and you can sense he’s very proud, with pictures of his mom or dad in uniform,” Trapani said. “We’ve done entire Army uniforms, baseball uniforms, christening, wedding gowns. After so many years, we’ve just about seen it all.”
Allan Tobin of Little Neck has visited the gallery almost weekly for a year, mainly to have items from his collection of war memorabilia framed or placed in shadowboxes.
“Of all the framing places I’ve been to before, it’s the warmest, most inviting place,” Tobin said. “The lengths they go to for your frame are beyond amazing.”
Trapani, a resident of East Williston, has sold the gallery to J. Pocker, a framing company with locations in New York and Connecticut, but will continue to live nearby.
“Manhasset has been great to us,” Trapani said. “I’m actually going to miss the store a lot, especially my customers and my crew. When you work with three or four people for eight hours a day, you get close to them.”