Passing the Torch…Again

Nauset Lantern Shop marks its 60th anniversary with a changing of hands

Editor’s note: In the 2005 “Top 400” issue of Cape Cod LIFE, we featured a story on Nauset Lantern Shop titled “Passing the Torch.” At the time, Michael Joly was in his fifth year as owner of the Orleans-based company, having taken over the business from Ken Alman. On March 1, 2019, Michael, along with his wife Barbara, officially passed the torch to the shop’s new owners, husband-and-wife team Chris and Kelly Berardi. We headed back to Nauset Lantern, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, to talk to Chris and Michael about the transition. Not only is the future of Nauset Lantern bright, but it’s also one that will still include Michael.

Michael Joly has a smile for the ages. He doesn’t just smile with his mouth, as Chris Berardi points out, but with his entire face. Berardi has quite the jolly smile as well—it’s an earnest smile, and a gleam in his eyes, that appears every time he talks about the Nauset Lantern Shop

The enthusiasm and pride Joly and Berardi share for Nauset Lantern is undeniable, and so too is their desire to keep this now 60-year-old business alive and thriving. After 19 years of being at the helm of Nauset Lantern Shop, Joly, 64, says he was ready to relinquish his ownership responsibilities. He and his wife Barbara put the business up for sale late last year, not expecting they would find the right buyer so quickly. “What was important for Barbara and I was the continuation of the business. That’s why we ultimately chose Chris,” Joly explains, “because of his craftsmanship and what he could bring to the table—he can work with his hands, and he wants it to be his career.”

Berardi, a native of Canton, MA, moved to the Cape 17 years ago when he was 25 and began his career here as a carpenter, his sights set on one day owning his own business. He would have never imagined, though, that his business would wind up being a lantern-making shop—that is until this past December, when a friend of his, also Joly’s, informed him that Nauset Lantern was for sale and encouraged him to look into it. “I was really intrigued right from the start,” Berardi recalls. “After I met Michael and he showed me around, I went home and I told my wife, ‘I’m thinking about looking into a lantern business,’ almost expecting her to say ‘No, that’s crazy!’ and I’d forget all about it. But she said ‘Alright,’ so I said, ‘Let’s go visit. I want you to see this.’ Two weeks later—it was the day after Christmas—we came in and she got the tour, and we were sold right then.”