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Fortunoff opens 11th store, expands into Staten Island

Montalbano brothers retire from patio furniture business

Fortunoff Backyard Stores, part of the largest specialty outdoor furniture and accessories retailer in the United States, will take over the Montalbano's Patio store at Richmond Ave. in Staten Island, N.Y., giving the retailer its 11th location in the tri-state area.

This comes after the Montalbano brothers, who opened their first Staten Island pool store in 1974, decided to retire from just the patio furniture business. However, they will continue operating their pool construction and retail business at their second location on Staten Island.

"We've been in business for a long time, and we're up there in age now," said Joe Montalbano. "It comes down to the three of us [brothers] - Charles, Lewis and myself - are looking to retire and do different things.

"I love the patio business. I was the buyer, I'm the one at the shows, and it's a great industry that's going to get better. It was just time for us. We're going to miss the show in September for the first time in a long time. But I'm not sad about this, we're just moving forward," he said.

The Montalbano family is returning to their original focus – building above- and below-ground pools as well as providing pool equipment, accessories and toys. The family saw the opportunity to transition their 35-year-old patio business to another well-known retailing company in Fortunoff, which has built its outdoor furniture and patio-supply business into one of the largest in the country.

According to Chief Executive Officer Bernie Sensale, the move will benefit both parties as well as the customers.

"Montalbano's and the Fortunoff Backyard Store share the goal of being the best at what we do and offering the highest-quality products and services," Sensale said. "Backyards and patios are our specialty and our volume enables us to offer high-end patio furnishings at the best prices. With us moving into this part of the business, the Montalbano's can now exclusively focus on their pool construction and retail business. It's the perfect arrangement and everyone wins.

"This is the one of our three planned openings for 2012. We're excited about the opportunities in the Staten Island market and see this opening as a significant step in the execution of what we call our "prudent growth" strategy," he said.

Montalbano added, "We originally started in the pool business 38 years ago, and this is what we enjoy most. The Fortunoff Backyard Store found its success in providing high-end patio furniture. Now we'll both be in the neighborhood and collaborating to ensure our customers have the nicest pools, backyards and patio settings all backed by both companies' well-known customer service."

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