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Forging Past Fifty

Susan reiterates the discovery of that important path 50 years ago when she says, “He puttered and designed for months, realizing how much he enjoyed what he was doing. That spring he put a few rings (none retailing for more than five dollars) into a brown paper lunch bag and headed to Boston. The buyer in the first store he went into, a man who later described his experience of first seeing Ross as ‘seeing Huckleberry Finn walk in,’ placed an order for $500. He was in business.”

Next came the craft show circuit, or more accurately, the phenomenon of the seventies—mall shows. “They were great,” Ross says. “It was a time when ‘crafting’ something was considered cool. People wanted to talk to the person who made the things they bought, and we showed up for as many of these shows as we could.” Coppelman presents a simple picture of selling his trinkets. The truth reveals that his business, his family and his craft were all growing and evolving. The mall shows were replaced by prestigious juried events like the Smithsonian Craft Show, The Philadelphia Museum of Art Show and the Baltimore Winter Market sponsored by the American Craft Council. The jewelry was no longer silver wire, but rather 22 karat gold, finely crafted pieces inspired by old world antiquities. And, the Coppelman’s nest on Route 6A in Yarmouth Port had fledged two young boys.

Ben, the youngest, displays inherited creativity as evidenced by his extraordinary photography of his father’s artistry, including an annual catalogue that is greeted with excitement and anticipation by a loyal and lucky client base. He recalls his centuries old childhood home and the vibe of talent and imagination as Ross worked out his designs, “I remember this house, because I grew up there, weaving through the legs of my father as he hammered, soldered and sold his work. It was a home infused with the rhythm of creative spirit, and with the souls of two parents searching for the best versions of themselves.”

Adam, the Coppelman’s first born, puts the evolution of the business in perspective (from that first home in Yarmouth Port, to a retail space at Sunflower Marketplace just down the road and finally farther down the road still, to its current location, in East Dennis where it has been a fixture for the past 25 years) when he eloquently says, “It seems like more than a coincidence that each of these was on Cape Cod’s Route 6A, a road that meanders through history and culture, with a beauty that rewards observers both casual and discerning. It’s where the asymmetrical patterns of nature share a space with old-world craftsmanship.”

Recalling the challenges through the 50 years, he confesses, “I’m not a good leader, I’m more of a meanderer, and that is a problem when people are counting on you to manage them.” 

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