Melissa Kossler Dutton talked to Betty Klapper, one of the owners of Art at the Center
You and your husband, Michael, are retired professors. What prompted you to open a gift shop and gallery on the campus of the Jewish Community Center?
It's a totally different field. It's fun. It keeps us fresh. We're meeting wonderful people, and we have learned a little bit about business.
What kinds of questions do non-Jewish customers have about your merchandise?
We get a lot of people saying, "I'm not Jewish but " That's OK with me. I'm happy to tell people anything. They don't have to buy.
What occasions are your customers usually buying for?
Life cycle events - weddings, bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, births or just going to someone's house and wanting a hostess gift.
Do you carry non-religious items?
Certainly, the jewelry is universal. A lot of families like our charity boxes, which encourage children to give loose change (to good causes). We have a large number of posters and maps.
Can you tell me about some of your handmade jewelry?
We have pieces made with glass from the Roman period. It's been underground for 2,000 years. We also carry pieces with beautiful filigree work.
What do you tell shoppers about the quality of your pieces?
If you pay for good quality and good design, you're actually buying yourself something that will become a family piece that can be passed down.