John Esposito | Owner of Personal Touch Jewelers
About This Episode
”Diamonds and Bikes!”
John sits down with John Esposito for an intriguing conversation covering everything from diamonds to motorcycles! John Esposito is the Owner of Personal Touch Jewelers and has been in the industry for over 50 years! He also shares a wealth of knowledge on one of his other biggest passions-motorcycles. Tune in for this roaring new episode and learn all about Bikes and Breakfast!
Personal Touch Jewelers Website
Bikes and Breakfast Website
[00:00:05] Speaker 1 Welcome to another episode of the Go with John Show. We have John Esposito with us. John, welcome.
[00:00:11] Speaker 2 Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
[00:00:13] Speaker 1 So so, John, tell me about how are you? How are you most mostly known around town?
[00:00:18] Speaker 2 It’s funny, the name of the store is Personal Touch Jewelers, but it’s better known as John the jeweler, right? Oh, the John the jeweler.
[00:00:25] Speaker 1 Yes.
[00:00:26] Speaker 2 You know, so which is, you know, fine with me, right? You know, the name Personal Touch actually came out of nowhere. It was my ability to to do things for people. You know, when I first started the business and I’m talking about before I moved here, I was in New York for 17 years. Right. I always took on jobs that someone else either ruined or couldn’t do. And, you know, so I took on that challenge just in need of work. In need of money right now.
[00:00:59] Speaker 1 Was using jewelry or was this just into the trades? Okay. Okay.
[00:01:03] Speaker 2 I’ve been doing this. Tell me. I don’t look this old, but I’ve been doing it. September will be 51 years. Wow. 50. I’ve been on my own since 1977.
[00:01:15] Speaker 1 Wow. Congratulations.
[00:01:16] Speaker 2 Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. I, I did a seven year apprenticeship, learned my trade, and was basically you could do this on your own. You’ll make more money. And I was afraid to.
[00:01:27] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:01:28] Speaker 2 And I was basically given some accounts, and off I went. It was primarily wholesale in New York. Right. But I have two daughters and. I wanted out of New York.
[00:01:45] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:01:45] Speaker 2 And I found out that through a cousin that Fairfax County. Had the best school system in the country.
[00:01:54] Speaker 1 Wow.
[00:01:55] Speaker 2 And I said. I want to move there. It took two years to convince my wife back then. And sadly, it is a sad story. I, I was known to to set very large diamonds. The one time that the diamond belonged to me. It was stolen. I don’t know how it was taken off my workbench. I was in the diamond exchange. People say, you know, they take an antenna with a piece of gum on it and just. It was sitting on my workbench. I literally couldn’t speak for two weeks.
[00:02:32] Speaker 1 Wow.
[00:02:33] Speaker 2 That’s when my wife said this was 19. When I wanted to come was 1985. I finally made it here in 87. Wow. And, of course, never found. I have an idea who may have taken it, but you can’t accuse. Sure, but it was a blessing. It was a blessing. My commute from where I lived, it was called New. It is called New City, New York. My commute into midtown Manhattan, Rockefeller Center Diamond District was 33 miles. Wow. The ride here was very reminiscent of that bumper to bumper traffic.
[00:03:11] Speaker 1 Oh, you tried today to get day yesterday?
[00:03:14] Speaker 2 Yeah. I was like, wow. I don’t. Because my commute now is seven miles.
[00:03:18] Speaker 1 Right. And you live in Clifton and your stores in Clifton. In Fairfax. In Fairfax.
[00:03:23] Speaker 2 Basically the last street of Fairfax City.
[00:03:25] Speaker 1 Which street are you on in?
[00:03:26] Speaker 2 Fairfax, Germantown Row, Oak Oak Highway and Germantown Road.
[00:03:30] Speaker 1 Okay, I know it well.
[00:03:31] Speaker 2 So, you know, I basically go down Braddock Road. Yup. To Clifton Road and I’m home.
[00:03:36] Speaker 1 Yeah. Nice.
[00:03:37] Speaker 2 Seven miles.
[00:03:38] Speaker 1 Yeah. Didn’t mean to scare you. I like that by bringing you in here today.
[00:03:45] Speaker 2 Basically, I. I had a tremendous concern for my kids. So because I grew up in Brooklyn, my first daughter was born. Born in Brooklyn. Yeah. And I wanted out, you know.
[00:04:01] Speaker 1 And was it the crime? I mean, what drove.
[00:04:03] Speaker 2 You know, honestly, no. I lived in a there’s such a thing as a you know, I was living in a good part of Brooklyn.
[00:04:09] Speaker 1 Right.
[00:04:12] Speaker 2 You know, what’s amazing is that house I bought it in 1984, $51,000. It sold last year for 1,000,002.
[00:04:20] Speaker 1 Isn’t that crazy?
[00:04:21] Speaker 2 It had a closet sized bathroom on the second level, right?
[00:04:25] Speaker 1 No bathroom on the main level.
[00:04:27] Speaker 2 I can’t imagine it was more than 1200 square feet.
[00:04:31] Speaker 1 Right. Do you remember what you sold it for in 87?
[00:04:35] Speaker 2 I sold it. Actually sold it in 83.
[00:04:38] Speaker 1 83.
[00:04:38] Speaker 2 Okay. I thought I did so well cause I sold the for 105.
[00:04:42] Speaker 1 Right. Doubled your money.
[00:04:43] Speaker 2 I doubled my money. And then I bought a house in New City, New York.
[00:04:47] Speaker 1 Yeah.
[00:04:48] Speaker 2 Which, like I said, is 33 miles from my job in Midtown Manhattan. And I that was tough. That was that was having two jobs. I would leave at 620 in the morning to be there sometimes at 830. Wow. You know. Wow. 815 at.
[00:05:05] Speaker 1 Best. Yeah, it.
[00:05:06] Speaker 2 Was a long haul because going in you had to pay a.
[00:05:09] Speaker 1 Toll. Right.
[00:05:11] Speaker 2 By the way, the toll back then was two bucks.
[00:05:13] Speaker 1 Yeah. What’s it today?
[00:05:14] Speaker 2 I think today it’s either 13 or 17. I don’t know which is which.
[00:05:19] Speaker 1 That would get you delegates.
[00:05:21] Speaker 2 Oh, my gosh. You know, and I rode a motorcycle into Manhattan many, many days of the year. Yeah. And it was only a buck ride. Motorcycles got in half, right.
[00:05:30] Speaker 1 Because you only two wheels.
[00:05:32] Speaker 2 And but now they pay the same do they. How they pay.
[00:05:34] Speaker 1 So. Yeah. So how did you, how did you get into the jewelry business.
[00:05:38] Speaker 2 Oh gosh. You know, I my parents came here in 1955, which is the year I was born. I was in my mom’s belly. So I was conceived in Italy and born here. You know, my dad was a tenor in the opera. You know, opera was a big thing back then. So he opera would come here for two years at a time, leave my mom for two years at a time. I have a brother who is 14 years older than me, so he would leave them for two years at a time. So they would come in. They would basically the opera would play from the Catskills down to Miami. And then in the one of the tours, he decided that they were going to move here. And his sister blazed a trail to Brooklyn, you know, and he set up the arrangements and they went back to Italy. They had a finished a tour in Italy. Long story. Where in Brooklyn?
[00:06:33] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:06:34] Speaker 2 So the other sad part of this is that my father made all these arrangements. My mother was pregnant. They wouldn’t grant him a visa once he was done to come over. My father didn’t see me till I was two. Wow. So my older brother, I call, you know, at one, you know, 18 months, years of age, whatever I’m calling my brother Dad, who, you know. Anyway, my point is that, you know, immigrant parents, they they really didn’t have a lot of money. So I started working at a very young age. Do you remember the company full of brush?
[00:07:11] Speaker 1 No, I don’t.
[00:07:12] Speaker 2 Fuller Brush was a company that sold a variety of brushes, and I went door to door. I don’t know, recall how old I was? I was probably 13. Yeah. And you’re going to laugh at this? I only worked for them long enough to buy my first mini bike. Is that right? Was $100 Virgin Stratton mini bike? But when I when I was in high school preparing for college, I needed.
[00:07:38] Speaker 1 A car. Uh huh.
[00:07:40] Speaker 2 You know, there was no way my parents were going to flip for that, you know? So what’s really comical is I bought a 1963 Pontiac Tempest. It was $150.
[00:07:53] Speaker 1 And that that that car was featured, I think, in the movie My Cousin Vinny.
[00:07:59] Speaker 2 Although that was that was a I think like a 67. That’s when it was a cool looking.
[00:08:05] Speaker 1 Couple of years later.
[00:08:06] Speaker 2 Okay. Yeah, okay. But my insurance, because I was young was doesn’t sound like a lot today. It was $600 a year, right? You know, back in the car, two bucks an hour. Right. So. I worked at a grocery store, Italian grocery store. I was cutting cold cuts on the machine. I was stocking, I was delivering. I would get paid it back. Even back then, it was $0.05 a bottle. People would give me five bottles to take back and make a quarter for the delivery.
[00:08:38] Speaker 1 Yeah.
[00:08:39] Speaker 2 Well. My brother worked in the Diamond District after high school. That’s what he did. He went and learned didn’t apprenticeship. So. Do you remember the movie The French Connection?
[00:08:55] Speaker 1 Yes.
[00:08:57] Speaker 2 My high school was it was filmed right up the block from my high school. Right. And that train that we used to call it the EL the elevated train would take me into Manhattan because my brother decided that I should be a gopher in the jewelry business and I would make more money. So I did that. And and then I sat down at a bench and learned my trade. By trade, I’m a diamond setter. That’s what I am. And that’s how I made a living. You know, I made like when I said when I finished my apprenticeship and they they gave me five accounts, basically five manufacturers who gave me. The gold gave me the diamonds, whatever it was. A ring, a pendant, earrings. I said it was basically piecework. If I said 100 diamonds, I got paid, two said. And back in those days, it was $0.75 a diamond to set, you know. But I made a living. I made a living.
[00:09:54] Speaker 1 And how long did it take you to set a diamond?
[00:09:57] Speaker 2 It depending on the type of diamond, you know, if it was like, you know, back then, diamond hearts were very popular. I remember this one particular heart had 20 diamonds in it. You know, I could set that and a half hour. Wow. You know, but then you’d have things that were pretty intricate that took time. You know, setting one diamond could take as much as 10 minutes. 7 minutes.
[00:10:20] Speaker 1 Right. Right.
[00:10:21] Speaker 2 So. But I did it. I did it for for a long time. And then I decided basically on my own from 77 to 87.
[00:10:30] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:10:31] Speaker 2 Basically doing diamond setting. And I was really, really good at my craft that I boy, I. I remember one day in my career by Morgan. I’ll never forget this. My mortgage payment was $630 a month.
[00:10:46] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:10:47] Speaker 2 Loved to have that today. And I got $10 a carat to set a diamond. So if I said a one carat diamond, I made ten bucks.
[00:10:59] Speaker 1 Doesn’t seem fair, because how much how much did a one carat diamond cost?
[00:11:03] Speaker 2 Back in those days, it could have been, you know, two, 2000, 3000 depending.
[00:11:07] Speaker 1 They could have paid you 20.
[00:11:09] Speaker 2 So. So but I worked for a he was my mentor, Leon Freiman. I loved him. I used to call his wife mom. Leon was without a doubt, I really don’t know for a fact, but he had to be one of the or if not the largest diamond guys in the world.
[00:11:28] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:11:29] Speaker 2 So this particular day, I set 310 carat diamonds. Wow. 310 carat. I called up my wife, and I said, you know, I just made half our mortgage payment and probably an hour and a half. I mean. Oh, I said a diamond for him once. Oh, my God. No insurance. This is a diamond trading in the trade. It wasn’t being sold yet. It was a million, $200,000. And good old Leon and the Guard were there. Well, I did it. It was a sky blue 702 pear shape.
[00:12:07] Speaker 1 Wow.
[00:12:08] Speaker 2 It was unbelievable. So, you know, I was known to do that kind of work. And that’s that’s when it you know, it happened my three carat 302. I’ll never forget. I can identify that diamond today if I saw it. Really? I could. I really could. And it was my pride and joy because. It was something that it was my first large purchase, you know, and it was it was meant to buy and trade, you know, and it was gone. It was gone. So that was kind of the. The absolute moment in my life where I was like, Wow, I am very vulnerable. I didn’t realize it, you know? You know, I commuted into Manhattan by motorcycle a lot. I put 52,000 miles on a motorcycle in three years.
[00:13:03] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:13:04] Speaker 2 From New York City. That’s a.
[00:13:05] Speaker 1 Lot. Yeah.
[00:13:07] Speaker 2 And I never felt vulnerable. I never. You know, I’m going around taxi cabs, you know? Never felt it. Never, ever. But when I. Damon was gone, I was like, wow.
[00:13:20] Speaker 1 Wow. Hmm.
[00:13:22] Speaker 2 So. But, like I said, God sent. Came to Virginia. And I still love it. I don’t regret. I have now live here longer. I’m here longer than I lived in New York. That’s crazy. And I’m here at.
[00:13:36] Speaker 1 35.
[00:13:36] Speaker 2 So 35 years in May.
[00:13:38] Speaker 1 Yeah. Good. Good story. So how do you how do you maintain your your your high level of you obviously have a passion for jewelry and you have a passion for business. Do you have a passion for a lot of things? You have passion for motorcycles and antique cars, which we’ll talk about here in a minute. But but talk about how how do you build your business and keep your customers happy? How do you keep pushing yourself to the next level?
[00:14:06] Speaker 2 I you know, I don’t push myself to the next level. It’s my customers that push me. It’s unbelievable. I don’t advertise, you know, just however many years we’ve been on Facebook, you know, we’ll post things I’ve made, right? Otherwise, I don’t do any advertising. It’s just, you know, someone will come in and so-and-so recommended you, you know? I don’t know what else you know. I get advertisers that call me. What do you mean? You don’t need more business? I said no. I’m doing fine. They don’t want to hear, you know. Yeah, but. And I remember years ago, I do a bracelet.
[00:14:54] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:14:55] Speaker 2 I have to say, I past tense because it’s too expensive now. But I did a bracelet with children’s names on it.
[00:15:01] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:15:02] Speaker 2 In gold?
[00:15:03] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:15:03] Speaker 2 So if you’re a family of four, you would have mom on each end and the kids in the middle. Mm hmm. Just little, tiny gold. Little letters were probably. Oh, gosh. You know, we do everything in metric in the jewelry business. So each letter was probably six. Mm.
[00:15:20] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:15:21] Speaker 2 I would give that bracelet away to whoever wanted it for their fundraiser, whether it be, you know, a school, whatever the fundraiser was. Right. But the bracelet had my children’s name on it, so that person who won it would have to come in with it so I could make it with their names. That was the best advertising I ever did. It really was. It was a charitable cause.
[00:15:49] Speaker 1 Right.
[00:15:49] Speaker 2 And I made a customer, too, because once they came in the store, in other words, if you give away something that you make. They win it. But don’t ever come see you.
[00:15:58] Speaker 1 So do you. Do you make everything you sell?
[00:16:01] Speaker 2 Oh, you know, I would say more than 70%. But there are things that are made by machine like Italian gold chains. Right? Men’s wedding bands are made on a lazy. I’m trying to think, you know, basically anything that’s machine made, right. You know, I don’t do and there are things that I do that are machine made, but I, I do it better. Right. It’s funny, one of the things that I used to make when I was a diamond setter as a living was it’s called a channel wedding band or an anniversary band. That’s where the diamonds are in the middle. And there’s a wall and it’s.
[00:16:39] Speaker 1 Yes, yep, yep.
[00:16:40] Speaker 2 Oh, my God. I must have said. Oh, I can. Hundreds, thousands of them. Now there’s a machine that does it.
[00:16:47] Speaker 1 Yeah, it.
[00:16:48] Speaker 2 Does it better than me. Oh, when I first saw it, I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it. But now when I sell one of those bands, it’s machine made. Wow. It’s amazing. Yeah. Really, truly, truly. It’s amazing. But honestly, it’s been, you know, this whole idea of Instagram and Facebook and, you know, a young guy comes in now, he hands me a picture from his phone. He says, this is what she likes. And I make it, you know, it’s that simple.
[00:17:20] Speaker 1 Wow.
[00:17:20] Speaker 2 You know, in the old days, you know, he would conjure up an idea. And, you know, I wouldn’t know the percentage, but I would say. 75% of the time the woman was satisfied. But I’ve had, you know, I use this a lot. You know, a woman will come in and say, you know, I’ve had this on for ten years. I’ve hated it from the day I got it, but I didn’t have the heart to tell him.
[00:17:46] Speaker 1 Right.
[00:17:47] Speaker 2 Oh, that would break my heart right now. He spent his money, my time, my, you know. And sure enough. I don’t think that happens anymore.
[00:17:57] Speaker 1 Right.
[00:17:58] Speaker 2 Not too long ago. Hopefully, they’re not listening. I made a ring and it was small. She loved.
[00:18:04] Speaker 1 It.
[00:18:04] Speaker 2 The size and not the finger size, but the ring itself. Sure. Not the diamond. The center diamond was fine, but she wanted a bigger scale of that ring. And I did it. And she’s thrilled. She’s thrilled. You know, basically a person that comes in usually has an idea. You know, I call my store a destination location.
[00:18:29] Speaker 1 Right.
[00:18:29] Speaker 2 I’ve always wanted to change that, but I’m kidding. I’ve never found a location that I liked better or I should say better. Like I wanted to move to Fairfax Corner. I loved it. I wanted to move to rest in Town Center. Yeah, I loved it. Reston Town Center was I couldn’t bite the bullet. The rent was just so much money.
[00:18:52] Speaker 1 Yeah, yeah.
[00:18:53] Speaker 2 I was able to, you know, I even had a contract in front of me to sign a lease for Fairfax Cohen and I realized that it it is also a destination location and I would have to work much harder because the rent was higher. So I never I never moved. Yeah, I’ve been there, you know, good old age Dwoskin Properties, I’ve been there for maybe will be 35 years.
[00:19:19] Speaker 1 Wow. Well, I can tell you have a lot of passion for making people happy. You can’t see your face. Obviously, we’re just doing an audio recording. But when you talk about how happy she was when you made her her her ring, your face is glowing just for the photo.
[00:19:36] Speaker 2 And I’ve got to I’ve got to tell you this. 1999. I met a gentleman. To back up, we wrote. If you know what the Yamaha one is, it’s an incredible back in the day, it was the fastest bike. It was incredible. And I met this gentleman that made a a let’s call it Undertale enclosure. So you took away that plastic black fender and you put this under was made in France. You took this and it was painted and it really finished off the back of the bike. Long story. He and I became very good friends to the point where I went to Europe with him and he the motorcycle show in Europe is unbelievable. But to shorten this, he expressed to me. Because he was making a lot of money. He expressed to me. I wake up to make money.
[00:20:38] Speaker 1 Yeah.
[00:20:39] Speaker 2 And I’m John. I am not kidding you. I pondered this for three and a half days.
[00:20:46] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:20:47] Speaker 2 Why? Why? Wake up what? You know, and I actually came up with that. I wake up to make people happy. Yeah, when I make people happy, I’m happy, right? You know, so it’s. It’s not. It’s not that I’m so generous. I need it. Yeah, I need. I need it for my personal life. I need it for my business life. And of course, in my business life, I make people happy. I make a living.
[00:21:11] Speaker 1 Yes. You know, yeah.
[00:21:13] Speaker 2 I there are so many jewelers around that make so much more money than I do.
[00:21:18] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:21:19] Speaker 2 I. If I envious? Yes, slightly. But I’m not I’m not willing to work that hard. You know, I need I put my heart and soul and everything I make. I couldn’t never do $4 million a year that I hear. You know, most of that is I’m going to guess is is manufactured. You know, when I worked for a manufacturer, gosh, I’d have an envelope. I was telling you about diamond hearts. I’d have 20 of those diamond hearts. When I open the loose diamonds, I might trade would be like a mountain of diamonds. Yeah. You know, where did they all go? They went to all the different stores in the country, you know, whereas, sure, they have a salesperson, they sell that item over and over and over. Whereas for me. I may make an item and I may not make it again.
[00:22:12] Speaker 1 Yeah, and that’s why you call your store.
[00:22:14] Speaker 2 Personal touch.
[00:22:15] Speaker 1 There you go. John the jeweler. All right. We’re going to take a quick break. We’re with John Esposito and we’ll be right back with more conversation. We’re going to talk some motorcycles when we come back.
[00:22:24] Speaker 2 Yes, yes, I want to.
[00:22:30] Speaker 1 We are back, still chatting with John Esposito. Thanks again, John, for coming in and really enjoying our time together.
[00:22:37] Speaker 2 Yes, honestly, John, you’re a nice guy. Lots of fun.
[00:22:39] Speaker 1 You’re a nice guy, too. And Nick is nice.
[00:22:42] Speaker 2 Nick is a nice guy.
[00:22:45] Speaker 1 We got to work him into every show at least once. Say, yeah. So, so. So. So. In the elevator ride up, we were talking about motorcycles. And I asked you, what’s your favorite motorcycle in you? And you said, like.
[00:22:59] Speaker 2 That question is posed to me over and over.
[00:23:02] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:23:03] Speaker 2 Almost daily. Yeah. And because I do, it is my passion, but it is my mood. You know, I tell people I usually make that decision when I’m in the shower. You know, I’m closed on Sundays and Mondays. And I do my writing on Sundays and Mondays. I’ve gone cross-country, you know. But my favorite motorcycle of the day is the mood I’m in. Right. And I was telling you, when when it there are motorcycles that take a lot of energy. You know, I have old bikes. I love love working on them.
[00:23:38] Speaker 1 So tell me about one of your old bikes.
[00:23:40] Speaker 2 Right now I have a 1946 Indian on the left.
[00:23:44] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:23:45] Speaker 2 Basically doing a tune up, changing, you know, this is so.
[00:23:49] Speaker 1 Old, and you do it all yourself.
[00:23:51] Speaker 2 And I do it all myself. Yeah. Talk about energy. This motorcycle, you know, it’s 1946. It’s not only that it’s running on drum brakes, but they’re small drum brakes. Right. You know, motorcycles are the pass stop, primarily with the back brake.
[00:24:10] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:24:11] Speaker 2 Whereas today’s motorcycles stop more than 70% of the front brake. Wow. So it’s another skill. Yeah. To ride. Yeah. This particular motorcycle is. They refer to it as a suicide clutch, you know? So you’ve used your clutch is on your foot and your shifter is on the side of the tank.
[00:24:28] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:24:29] Speaker 2 You know, so that in itself, if you were interested in motorcycles, that in itself and you bought one, there’s a learning curve. So you had to ride that motorcycle. And I got to tell you, I have a 42 Harley. You know, they were competitive against each other. You know who’s going to make the sale? You know, Harley made it simply because the government bought Harley’s, you know, municipalities bought Harley’s and they put Indian out of business.
[00:25:00] Speaker 1 Right.
[00:25:01] Speaker 2 If I got it right, I think Indian went out in 42. In 52.
[00:25:05] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:25:06] Speaker 2 You know, when. When one of the things about the Harley. The Harley is a four speed. The Indian is a three speed, you know. So they were ahead of the game there, but Indian had a rear suspension. Harley didn’t put a rear suspension till 1958.
[00:25:24] Speaker 1 Oh, wow.
[00:25:25] Speaker 2 But, you know, you had that pogo stick seat. Yeah. You know, so you did have a piano.
[00:25:30] Speaker 1 Springs on the.
[00:25:31] Speaker 2 Seat. See me on the podcast? Yeah. Singing my chin. Right. But. And the Indian is a lighter bike. The Indian is actually maneuvers better. Yeah. No, but I do like riding the Harley more. Yeah. There’s something about the posture of the harder they postures. Almost the same, but there’s something a little different, whether it’s a wider bar on the Harley. Yeah.
[00:25:56] Speaker 1 There is something. I’ve ridden a lot of bikes in my day, mostly Hondas and Yamaha’s. And last year I bought my first Harley about a brand new 21 Road King. And the first time, you know, I’d never even ridden a Harley, never sat on one because I couldn’t afford it. So I torture myself. You know, it it is an amazing bike. It is. It is. It’s incredible. It’s not at all like you would expect. And.
[00:26:26] Speaker 2 You know, it’s it’s one of those motorcycles. I had one. It’s one of those motorcycles. Where. It may be heavy to get off the stand, but once you release that clutch, it goes through the twisties. People don’t realize it. You know, I have sport bikes, you know. I guess the sport bike of my of my favor is Ducati and I have quite a few ducati’s very old. I have a 1959. You know, in 1959 the largest Ducati was a 200 CC is that right? 1958 it was a 175. Wow. By 1962, it became a 250. They raced these motorcycles. I have one. That’s all the energy in the world. I put in that bike way over. You know what it’s valued at today?
[00:27:20] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:27:22] Speaker 2 But it’s. Yeah, I’m like a monkey on a tricycle when I ride it. It’s really small, but I love it. I love. Yeah, you know, I one of the first bikes that I bought that was old was an a 1969 BMW. It’s called an R 69 S.
[00:27:42] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:27:42] Speaker 2 Boy, have they gone up in value. Yeah, I bought that bike from a biology teacher. I’ll never forget it. He had it set up. He took it to school every day.
[00:27:54] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:27:55] Speaker 2 He put Japanese big turn signals on it. He made it so it would be safe. Right. I remember taking it home and pulling all that stuff off. You know, the mufflers had rotted through.
[00:28:05] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:28:06] Speaker 2 And he welded. I’m not exaggerating. A coffee can or somebody did it for him. A coffee can over the whole, you know, wrapped it around. Right.
[00:28:14] Speaker 1 Right.
[00:28:16] Speaker 2 You know, that £1 coffee can. But I rode that bike from here. To Laconia. Laconia is New Hampshire 639 miles one way.
[00:28:33] Speaker 1 Wow. That’s a long ride.
[00:28:35] Speaker 2 On a bike that seriously breaks a very.
[00:28:39] Speaker 1 Poor.
[00:28:43] Speaker 2 That has no low end torque whatsoever. But once you’re at 60, 65 miles an hour, it can go forever. If you know anything about engines, you know it has a very, very heavy flywheel. So when you let go the gas, you can do 65 miles. I’m not exaggerating for another three, four miles. Wow. It would just. Just coast forever. I still own it.
[00:29:10] Speaker 1 It’s funny. All the different personalities that equipment has. Yeah. You know, it’s.
[00:29:16] Speaker 2 That’s the pleasure of, you know, you’ve got that. The fellow that is I met someone last year. He’s got a Honda collection to die for. It’s unbelievable. Diehard Honda, of course. You know, they’re diehard Harleys.
[00:29:30] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:29:30] Speaker 2 But I love I love them all. I love working on them all. I probably would be so incredible if I just stuck to one brand as a mechanic.
[00:29:39] Speaker 1 Right.
[00:29:40] Speaker 2 But and I know someone that’s got a BMW collection that is beyond comprehension. Millions of dollars.
[00:29:47] Speaker 1 Now, you know, the BMW is I have an opportunity to write a few of those. And those are incredibly smooth riding bikes. You feel like you almost don’t feel like you’re on a motorcycle. It’s bizarre.
[00:29:59] Speaker 2 Which in some cases, that’s great.
[00:30:03] Speaker 1 Yeah.
[00:30:04] Speaker 2 In some cases, you want to. You know, my daughter did horseback riding.
[00:30:08] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:30:09] Speaker 2 And, you know, when you’re green, when you’re brand new at it, you want a horse that’s very trained.
[00:30:15] Speaker 1 Yes.
[00:30:16] Speaker 2 But once you know what you’re doing, you want to be able to train the horse. Right. So you want a horse. That’s for lack of term. Disobedient. You. Yeah. And that’s motorcycling to, you know, again, my mood when I don’t feel like I have a triumph. It’s as smooth as a BMW, if not smoother.
[00:30:38] Speaker 1 Really?
[00:30:39] Speaker 2 I push that, but it takes no energy to ride it. In other words, it just goes in there. At times when I can’t ride, it gets boring. It’s too boring. I want something that. You know.
[00:30:52] Speaker 1 The suicide clutch.
[00:30:53] Speaker 2 Yeah. Yeah. But I do something called bikes and breakfast. Have you heard of it?
[00:31:00] Speaker 1 I know, but I saw that on the information that you sent over. So tell us about bikes and breakfast.
[00:31:06] Speaker 2 Bikes and breakfast was started by my best buddy, Dale, in New York. If there’s anything I miss, it’s his family is my family. You know, our kids grew up together. And we used to go to a place called Marcus Dairy in Connecticut and how children were infants. We would get up at. You know, just get out there before 6:00 in the morning.
[00:31:35] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:31:36] Speaker 2 And ride out from New York to Marcus Dairy, Connecticut.
[00:31:39] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:31:40] Speaker 2 All these wonderful back roads. And we would be home before the kids were even up. It was amazing. We did that. And we. I want to say we started that. That we went there. There was I remember this guy, Mark, who had a BMW. We rode BMW in those days. It was three of us. And I’ll never forget, breakfast was corned beef hash and eggs. Oh, my God. It was so good. It became so popular that on a given Sunday, 2000 motorcycles.
[00:32:14] Speaker 1 Wow.
[00:32:17] Speaker 2 So I can’t I can’t say that we started that, but I think we started the trend. Right. Well, Marcus, dairy’s gone. And 2013, Dell decided. He wanted to try doing it there where he lives and. It took off, called the Bikes and Breakfast. We have a great logo. The logo is trademarked, but we give it to anybody that wants to start a bike, some breakfast. So in 2014, I did it here in Virginia and Old Town Clifton and probably not well-liked by the residents. But of course the two breakfast places that the Clifton Pub and the great place next door. They do an incredible business where they’re from 8 to 11. Mm hmm.
[00:33:15] Speaker 1 And how often do you do it? One day a week.
[00:33:18] Speaker 2 For. For mine. I do. It’s the second Sunday of every month.
[00:33:22] Speaker 1 Okay. So once a month, all year long.
[00:33:25] Speaker 2 All year long. And it’s coming. You should come this Sunday. I think the weather is going to allow it to happen.
[00:33:30] Speaker 1 It’s going to happen.
[00:33:31] Speaker 2 Last month there was ice and snow. And, you know, I sent out an email the Thursday before this Sunday, and I said, please come come in for wheels, but bring a motorcycle model. Yeah. And we did you know, there were only like 12 of us. Right. Right. I think there were 13 of us, but. And we laid the motorcycle models where we would park the bikes, and we got on the ground. That took four.
[00:33:57] Speaker 1 That’s great.
[00:33:58] Speaker 2 If you go to our bikes and breakfast.
[00:33:59] Speaker 1 Website, which is.
[00:34:01] Speaker 2 Just plug in Google bikes and breakfast, okay. And then once once it’s up you can we now have three places in New York.
[00:34:09] Speaker 1 Mm.
[00:34:10] Speaker 2 Three, two places in Pennsylvania. Two places in Maryland. No. One. Well, Maryland. His name is Jim Brown. Jim does it the first Sunday and the third Sunday. He used to be the mayor of Postville.
[00:34:23] Speaker 1 Okay.
[00:34:24] Speaker 2 Now he’s a real estate agent.
[00:34:26] Speaker 1 Right.
[00:34:26] Speaker 2 And if that name rings a bell.
[00:34:28] Speaker 1 The football player, Jim Brown. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:34:31] Speaker 2 Nicest guy in the world really is a nice guy. Then we have Virginia. We have Fredericksburg. We had Richmond. That didn’t go well.
[00:34:42] Speaker 1 Virginia Beach.
[00:34:44] Speaker 2 Of course, Clifton. And believe it or not, we’ve got a gentleman who came to mind. He does it in the Philippines.
[00:34:52] Speaker 1 Wow.
[00:34:52] Speaker 2 And you would think the Philippines, you know, they ride mopeds. Yeah. Oh, they ride Harleys, they ride UK, they ride Triumph’s, they ride motorcycles.
[00:35:02] Speaker 1 Right.
[00:35:03] Speaker 2 And he he does a he’s got a business. I’ve got to you got to express this because he’s the only one that makes money. This there is no monetary value in this. I hope they’re listening. I don’t even get a free cup of coffee anyway. His name is James. James. And sadly, James, his bikes and breakfast because of COVID has been shut down for a very.
[00:35:29] Speaker 1 Long time now. Where is James?
[00:35:31] Speaker 2 In the Philippines.
[00:35:31] Speaker 1 Okay.
[00:35:32] Speaker 2 And he is now reopened. But James has a building. And inside that building, he’s got a barbershop.
[00:35:44] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:35:45] Speaker 2 Repairs, motorcycles, sold accessories. Sells accessories. Like motorcycle helmets. Jackets.
[00:35:50] Speaker 1 Right.
[00:35:52] Speaker 2 And eatery. So his breakfast, he’s serving it. He’s making the money. And I think because it makes him breakfast. He got a couple of franchises.
[00:36:03] Speaker 1 Wow.
[00:36:03] Speaker 2 So he does. Well, he’s the only one that.
[00:36:06] Speaker 1 He’s an innovator.
[00:36:07] Speaker 2 He’s. Oh, he’s a great guy. Yeah, he actually he definitely is an entrepreneur because when I met him, he came here to he wanted to start a motorcycle riding school in the Philippines. So he came here to learn.
[00:36:21] Speaker 1 Uh huh.
[00:36:22] Speaker 2 So. And then when he came to my house and how he got invited, but he came and speaks English extremely well. And I said, Sure, just take the logo and go with it, you know, so if you know what cars and coffee is.
[00:36:37] Speaker 1 Yeah, absolutely.
[00:36:38] Speaker 2 Cars and coffee started in California. Right. And comes all the way east. Right. Right. And we have the best cars and coffee in Great Falls.
[00:36:46] Speaker 1 Been to it many times.
[00:36:47] Speaker 2 Oh, it’s just unbelievable. Yeah, I say it’s better than any any car show.
[00:36:52] Speaker 1 It is. It’s amazing.
[00:36:53] Speaker 2 So bikes and breakfast started on the East Coast, and we’re pushing to get it to go all the way to the West Coast.
[00:37:00] Speaker 1 Fantastic. That’s very unusual because almost everything starts on the West Coast and rolls its way, you know, building.
[00:37:07] Speaker 2 Trends with their meet ups. They have their gatherings, but under the heading of bikes and breakfast. Yeah, no.
[00:37:14] Speaker 1 But fantastic.
[00:37:16] Speaker 2 So we have we have a website. If you wanted to go all the way back to 2013, there are photos of every gathering all the way up to praising.
[00:37:26] Speaker 1 Yeah. Amazing. Yeah. So take a look.
[00:37:27] Speaker 2 The gathering started. The whole idea behind the gathering is that my peers, we have multiple motorcycles. So the gathering started as a I think it says classic, an antique motorcycle gathering. But everyone is welcome.
[00:37:49] Speaker 1 So so wait. If I only have one bike, I can still come. I don’t have a.
[00:37:54] Speaker 2 Horse or a horse. You know, the the Clifton Pub.
[00:37:58] Speaker 1 Yes.
[00:37:58] Speaker 2 For me is a cute little restaurant. Pub, you know, they got a liquor license all while go now. So they do very well. You know, if you serve booze, you’re going to, you’re going to have a clientele base. Yeah. Because it was more of a grocery store. And of course you can get a sandwich, you know, but now it’s a true restaurant, you know, small but and the owner, Tom, sadly, he’s passed away. I said, Tom. I want to parking spots. Can we put cones? And two places we’re going to have. I am at maximum ten motorcycles.
[00:38:34] Speaker 1 Hmm.
[00:38:34] Speaker 2 That first gathering May of 2014, I had 240 motorcycles. And you say, how did you do that? I don’t have an answer yet. I just put it out there. Yep. And like I said, the residents, I had to go to a town council meeting. And I came up with my defense, whether it won or whether they could tell me yay or nay, I can’t have motorcycles there. Right. I said, you know, there’s over 8700 hours in a year and at best we have motorcycles in town 21 hours a year. You know, the summer months is where we get the big group. Right. Like this coming, we’ll probably at best have 15 motorcycles. See if I’m wrong, but I’m hoping I’m wrong. So I, you know, I’ll never forget it. The mayor sat in the middle and there was all the people on the board crossed that table. And I’m sitting and the only defense I had was what I just told you. And I had one of the restaurant, us, the sun, time, sun there and oh, I had one woman say, Oh, you guys never shut off your engines. I said, No, that’s not true. You know, and the you never wear helmets and that’s not true, you know. Anyway, so but.
[00:40:00] Speaker 1 So if you’re not wearing helmets, that would be a question for law enforcement. I mean, and the.
[00:40:05] Speaker 2 Fact that, yeah, there were, you know, I can’t police people. Right. You know, I am not there to tell them what to do or what not to do. We’re there to have a good time. Yeah. For 3 hours. Yeah. The reason why I canceled it, I wanted it to end at 11 is we have a cool little church in town, and their first service started at 11.
[00:40:27] Speaker 1 Mm hmm.
[00:40:27] Speaker 2 Now, sadly, and I know one of the pastors now, they say that service starts at 10:30 a.m.. I said, I feel so guilty. He says, that’s no problem. So but, you know, people that have been living in town for 30 years, you know, people have discovered Clifton, you know, they need they live in a townhouse or a condo and they need to get out. Yeah, they discovered the town of Clifton.
[00:40:55] Speaker 1 Yeah, it’s a beautiful place.
[00:40:56] Speaker 2 Oh, the street is so. But I got to be honest, when bikes and breakfast on a good summer day, it is something. Oh, my God. You can’t find a spot for a motorcycle by 9:00.
[00:41:09] Speaker 1 Amazing. Well, congratulations.
[00:41:11] Speaker 2 You’ve got to.
[00:41:12] Speaker 1 Come. Congratulations. We’ll check it out. So, John Esposito, thank you so much for coming in and sharing stories with us today. Is there anything you want to add before we wrap up?
[00:41:25] Speaker 2 Oh, my gosh. You know, I’m not exactly sure why I’m doing a podcast. I was invited to do it. I said, Sure, if it’s to promote my business, hey, that’s great. If it’s to come to my bikes and breakfast, that’s great. Come visit. We’ll do both places.
[00:41:49] Speaker 1 Will do. Absolutely. John, thank you for coming in. We enjoyed the chat.
[00:41:53] Speaker 2 Great. Thank you. Thank you. Thank.