Categories: Schenectady County
Lou Castiglione may be a lucky man, but this New Year’s Eve his luck almost ran out.
For the past 10 years, the owner of Castiglione Gem Jewelers has been making a huge bet with his customers — that if it snows at least 6 inches between 6 p.m. and midnight on New Year’s Eve, anything they bought from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve would be free.
As everyone knows, most of the region received at least 6 inches Monday, but the major accumulation came in the early morning. As he ducked Monday’s snowstorm, it appears Castiglione just missed another predicted for today.
“I’ve never had to pay,” a smiling Castiglione said Monday. This year was not the only close call. He said the snow has missed his window of time two or three times by 24 hours or less.
“When I woke up this morning and they said 10 inches, my first reaction was, ‘What gives should I leave town now,’ ” he joked.
But then, at least for another year, he can afford to joke. “It was almost raining jewelry this year,” he said, adding, “it was pretty damn close.”
A big storm in his time slot would not be a total disaster for Castiglione. He takes out an insurance policy to cover the possible hit, and while he declined to put a price on his annual premium, he said it is in the thousands.
He also declined to speculate on what the total refund would be for all that covered jewelry, but he said if he one day loses this bet there will be a line formed around the block.
When Castiglione came up with this promotion, there were no plans to make it an annual event. “People seemed to enjoy it so I kept doing it,” he said.
Though he has yet to lose the bet, he said it is a good gamble for his customers. “If you’re going to get a gift anyway, you might as well get it here because you might get it free,” he said.
The old shopper’s adage about keeping a receipt is very important in this game.
Wally Hart, president of the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce, said Castiglione’s promotion not only benefits the jewelry store but the entire county.
“I give Lou and [his wife] Barbara a lot of credit,” Hart said. “They don’t just promote in Fulton County, they advertise in Saratoga, the Capital District and Utica. They’re certainly a draw for Fulton County,” he said. “It’s a great promotion.”
When Hart saw the forecast for snow on New Year’s Eve, he said he thought of Castiglione’s annual promotion and had a feeling this was going to be the year.