2012 Irish Small Biz 50 Nominees, P-R

Name: Cheryl Hughes Parabicoli

Age: 52

Place of birth: Massachusetts

Business: Irish Import Shop

First established: 1984

Employees: 5.

Website: www.tinkerscart.com

Where you live: Leominster, MA

First job: Retail

What it taught me: I loved stocking the store and displaying merchandise. I also liked the interaction with the customers.

Family: I am lucky to be part of a large family. My grandparents came from Ireland and my connections with family there is still strong. My step mother is from Waterford and now there are even more family connections to the Emerald Isle. I have 5 siblings and 5 step siblings. The light of my life is my 21 year old son Nick.

Best advice anyone ever gave you: Take time to stop and stare.

Best advice you could give someone starting out: Do something you love and be committed to doing your very best. Be fair and give back to your community. Treat customers and employees like you would like to be treated yourself.

The most important thing for a business success is: I can’t speak for all business but in mine it’s about offering quality products, excellent customer service, and making the shop a fun place to be. We evoke a sense of heritage and we’re much more than a retail shop. We are educators and promoters of Ireland.

Here at the Tinker’s Cart we pride ourselves on bringing you the finest goods the Emerald Isle has to offer. We have been importing quality Irish goods for over 20 years. It all began in 1986 when John and Janice Hughes wheeled a pushcart chock full of Irish wares into a mall in New Hampshire and the Tinker’s Cart was born. One pushcart turned into two and then three. The pushcarts gave way to kiosks and seasonal stores at a variety of New England malls. As well as a large array of Irish merchandise the Tinker’s Cart also offers a huge selection of clothing custom embroidered with Irish logos and designs. We have our own in-house embroidery business and can offer clothing with one of a kind designs that we have created ourselves. We welcome custom embroidery orders both large and small. Many of you know us from the numerous Irish festivals we have exhibited at over the years. We have maintained our Clinton location since 1999 where you’ll find a well stocked Irish emporium with friendly employees who will be glad to assist you. We’re easy to find and we offer the most complete array of Irish products you’ll find in central New England. You’ll find you’re always welcome at the Tinker’s Cart.

Name: Mary Ann Pierce

Age: Old enough

Place of birth: Newark, New Jersey

Business: MAP Digital: MetaMeetings

First established: 2002

Employees Six employees,

“twenty perma-lancers”

(one in Belfast)

Website: www.mapdigital.com

Where you live: New York City and New Hope, PA

First job: Waitress at Stouffers

What it taught me: Listening skills, best practices like placing a coffee cup handle at 4 o’clock, and keeping to your right.

Family: I am the eldest of eight with a long time companion and a part-time stepmother of two.

Best advice anyone ever gave you: Where you look is where you will go, lady. (from a driving instructor).

Best advice you could give someone starting out: You got to love it. Hire the best people. A few good clients are all you need. The bad ones will waste your time, money and frustrate the staff. Stand up for your company. Get a good accountant.

The most important thing for a business success is: Offer a service or product that clients need and add value constantly.

Mary Ann Pierce is President of MAP Digital: MetaMeetings. She started out in film, worked for a direct marketing agency, was the marketing director of contemporary art museum, ran a theater company, was lured back to corporate communications until the Internet found her in 1997. Since then she has built integrated digital events J.P. Morgan, Deutsche Bank, Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, Euro RSCG, Draftfcb, Novartis, Pfizer, and New York University, among others. For two years, she was an adjunct professor at New York University where she lectured on Internet solutions for the Meetings Industry. She is a frequent speaker at Industry conferences, and her most recent article for BizBash is: Best of 2011: is Using New Tools to Engage and Drive Business Goals. She uses the expertise she has learned and the software she has built for her corporate clients for good causes: Saving St. Brigid’s Church, One Young World, Women’s rights, and AIDs. She is a passionate Irish American who has promoted Irish Contemporary Art in the U.S., produced the inaugural Irish American Writers and Artist’s O’Neill Award Ceremony, and is looking to expand her software company to Ireland.

Name: Brian E. Raftery

Age: 42

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Business: Herrick, Feinstein LLP. Trusts & Estates Partner at the Law Firm of Herrick, Feinstein LLP

First established: 1928

Employees: 150 attorneys, plus support staff.

Website: www.herrick.com

Where you live: Westfield, New Jersey

First job: Newspaper carrier, age 11

What it taught me: Make sure you keep track of your receivables, because, if you don’t, you’ll get stiffed on the tip.

Family: Wife, Ruth Ann Flynn Raftery; children, Brigid Flynn Raftery (age 12); Megan Fleming Rafter (age 10); and Erin P. Raftery (age 7)

Best advice anyone ever gave you: “Marry that girl”, referring to Ruth Ann Flynn, who is now my wife.

Best advice you could give someone starting out: Listen, learn, be positive, and adapt.

The most important thing for a business success is: Relationships, relationships, and relationships.

Brian E. Raftery, a Trusts and Estates attorney and certified public accountant, is one of the youngest partners of the law firm of Herrick, Feinstein LLP, a 150 attorney full-service law firm with offices in New York and New Jersey. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Irish Business Association, a business networking group of Irish-American and Irish business people. Brian graduated from Msgr. Farrell High School in Staten Island in 1987. He earned his undergraduate degree in Accounting, with minors in Political Science and History, at the University of Scranton in 1991. He earned his law degree from Seton Hall University School of Law in 1997, where he was the Business Editor of the Seton Hall Constitutional Law Journal. Brian also obtain a Masters of Law degree in Taxation at New York University School of Law in 1999.

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