By Rod Lee
Among the titles David Alpert of Milford is most proud of may be that of “acquirer.” He is by his own definition a collector. A possessor of things.
It has been this way for a long time, Mr. Alpert said on October 20 as he continued setting up an as-yet-unnamed gift shop featuring collectibles and memorabilia in space behind the Uxlocale restaurant and adjacent to The Mane Place at 510 W. Hartford Ave. in Uxbridge.
“Entrepreneur” might be another word to describe him. He is president of New England Diamond & Jewelry on Washington St. in Newton (“you can see us from the Pike,” he says). New England Diamond is a third-generation business. Mr. Alpert’s brother Rob and son Josh are involved with that venture, which, he explains, is not “a retailer” in the traditional sense but “a state buying shop.”
Nor is that the extent of his forays into the marketplace.
“I have another business in Utah, firearms,” he said. He pointed this out while indulging a visitor’s interest in the plethora of merchandise he has put up for display in his new store.
Add to this a background in high tech and Mr. Alpert comes across as a man who is restless for the next big undertaking.
Having accrued this and that for years, he was anxious to share some of it with people who might be interested in buying, he said. A friendship with the Charles Cowan family (Charles’s sister-in-law Chef Elaine Cowan is the mastermind behind Uxlocale) prompted Mr. Alpert to take advantage of an opportunity to create a spot for his interesting assortment of product; much of which, he says, reflects a passion of his for “historical.”
He dismisses the notion that now it not a good time to be starting a retail business.
“People want to get out and they are looking for cool stuff,” he said. “My experiences are different and I want to do community. I will be planning two open houses.”
Mr. Alpert began organizing his shop “right before the pandemic. It gave me something to be active with every day.” What he has assembled on W. Harford Ave. is nowhere near the extent of it, he says. “I have things sitting in storage units, a lot of them. I always had in mind a retirement that included a trailer and going around the country.”
He is proud of stock that is anything but ordinary. “Natick fire belts” from the late 1800’s, for instance. Coins, buttons and watches. “Jim Thorpe stuff.” He says “we are working through all of it, fishing it out as we go.” Neon lights from the 1920s and 1930s are sure to draw attention. His collection of sports memorabilia is impressive, including a framed photograph of Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito; even a framed New York Yankees pennant with Mickey Mantle’s name mounted underneath.
He has an extensive array of sterling silver, jewelry, earrings, rings and bracelets.
Mr. Alpert said his shop might not have come to fruition except for the Cowan family.
“They made it very easy for me to move in here,” he said.
Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.