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Nauset Lantern celebrates 60 years in a unique way

Michael Joly and Chris Berardi are both excited about what the future holds for Nauset Lantern. “Barbara and I took it to the next level, and I’m sure Chris and Kelly will do the same thing,” Joly says. “I just want to hit the ground running,” says Berardi.

So what intrigued Berardi, and ultimately sold him, on owning a lantern shop? “From the start I knew I could enjoy this,” he says. “It’s the product, and it’s the craft.” The way Joly sees it, “We could’ve never sold the business to the person that would just sit in the office; it wouldn’t work. You got to love working with your hands in this business,” and Berardi loves doing just that: “To me there’s nothing better than it. That’s why this was such a good fit.” Berardi is currently a coppersmith in training, learning all of the tricks of the trade from Joly, a true perfectionist when it comes to the craft of lantern making. Metalworking is a trade that was new to Joly too when he first started at Nauset Lantern, having previously worked as a manager for Macy’s and Filene’s Basement. The parallels between Berardi and Joly don’t end there. Michael was 45 when he took the helm at Nauset Lantern; Chris is 42. And Michael once worked as a carpenter in college.

Berardi is excited to be learning everything he can from Joly, and that won’t end anytime soon. One of the main reasons behind Joly’s decision to sell the business was so he could focus solely on his passion for coppersmithing. Joly will continue on with the company as a coppersmith, along with a team of three others—Tom Bache, Bob Berg and Michael Zaczek— who each have decades of experience in metal fabrication. “I said to Chris today, ‘Tom Bache has been working here since he was 62 and he’s 87 now—wouldn’t that be nice if I’m 80 to still come in here for 10 hours a week and make some lanterns,’” Joly says. “I tease him all the time,” Chris adds, “I say he’s just got to put pants on. He wears shorts year-round, I’ve never seen him wear pants,” he says as they both laugh.

Jokes aside, both Joly and Berardi are serious about the craftsmanship and attention to detail that goes into each one of their signature, Colonial-style lanterns. Everything is made manually in the basement workshop of their showroom on Route 6A in Orleans. They have over 100 lantern design templates, many of which were created by Nauset Lantern Shop founder Ari “Opie” Oppelaar. Large, flat sheets of copper are transformed by ridgers and rollers—and a bar folder that dates back to the 19th century—into elegant lanterns that harken back to Early America. 

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