WARWICK, RI — This weekend marks Ron Amore’s first Father’s Day running Tiger Eye Gifts, but he’s been a father for a little while.
Amore’s daughter, Olivia, turned 7 last month.
“She loves the store,” Amore said of the store he opened in February to serve the need he’s noticed for a gift shop that offers unique, affordable gifts.
Often, Amore said, he’d wind up buying gifts for people that they already had or that someone else had already given them.
“I feel like every Christmas, every birthday, I just can’t find a gift,” Amore said. Also, he said, he thought a lot of gift shops were over-priced.
Those factors were in mind in December 2019 when Amore was at a Century 21 open house in Conimicut Village having a look at the space that would become Tiger Eye Gift Shop. Amore decided to act on his gift shop idea, rented out the space and began to set up. His intent was to open that Christmas, but the timing wasn’t right.
Instead, by the time the paper work, inventory and the shop were all set up, it was February. The shop opened just a few weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic began to freeze over the national and state economy.
In response, Amore created an e-commerce website, TigerEyeGiftShop.com, for the shop, hoping to bring in virtual shoppers to offset the loss of foot traffic brick and mortar shops have experienced. The site’s still a work in progress, but Amore encouraged anyone who still isn’t comfortable shopping in person to visit the site this Father’s Day. He said the shop has a lot of thoughtful, unique Father’s Day gifts.
Olivia is eager to help out at the shop, but Amore said the timing isn’t right just now with the pandemic. One of her favorite items sold there are the Eugy 3D cardboard puzzle kits. The kits are assembled according to numbered pieces, moving from R1 – R12, for instance, Amore said.
“Eventually this little figure forms,” he said.
Amore found the items using an online supplier that allows him to buy much of his stock from local merchants.
“This is a great way to support small businesses in the U.S.,” Amore said, “You keep the money in the local economy, it benefits everybody.”
Amore knows a little about that by virtue of his job as Smithfield Tax Collector and in his other small business, Amore Accounting Services.
Even though she’s not in the store, Olivia seems to be picking up Amore’s entrepreneurial spirit.
“She’s a great girl. A lot like her dad,” Amore said.
Olivia’s toy hot dog cart has been the setting for her practice runs at owning a small business, Amore said. Olivia has set prices, and together they’ve played through various enterprises, including ice cream, pizza and dessert sales.
“One of us has to take the order and the other one serves it,” Amore said.
When they’re playing Monopoly, he said, Olivia is always the banker. Sometimes, when it’s time for Amore to buy a railroad or other property, Olivia will intervene if she thinks it’s too much money, saying, ” ‘That’s a bad deal,'” Amore said.
“She’s going to be my CFO some day,” he said.
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