Local Business Owner Turns Passion for Woodworking into Supporting His Community
If you have ever shopped at Heritage Paint and Home Design in downtown Rocky Point, you’ll probably remember meeting John Romano, the friendly and charismatic store owner. John has
been a successful small business owner for 27 years and has helped countless home owners with their painting and home renovating projects. While John has always been known for his
unwavering commitment to customer service, he is recently becoming known for his chic hand-crafted birdhouses.
Between helping customers and mixing paint colors, John has always used his spare moments to work on crafting or woodworking projects, ranging from dining room tables, hutches, wine
racks, and even a 16 foot mahogany wooden boat. “Many customers would come to the store asking to see what I was working on, but would also show me their projects- like reclaimed furniture, beautiful wooden countertops, and kitchen cabinet refinishing. We were able to share tools, ideas, and learn from each other. It felt like we were starting a little DIY club.” Romano also shared that meeting so many talented people is what inspires his creativity. So he decided to test his woodworking skills at something he had never tried before: birdhouses, but bigger and better.
“Most people, when they think of a bird house, think of a small square box, but I wanted to make something that would be usable, but double as a piece of art.” His first birdhouse was 4 feet tall and 18 inches across, with 6 sides and 9 nesting cavities! John decided to showcase his creation at the paint store. The response from his customers was overwhelmingly positive, with many expressing praise for his craftsmanship and attention to detail. Romano started building others, each time developing the design to make it fancier but also easier to replicate. “It became a great way to showcase the quality of the paint products sold at the store. I use the same products that I sell to my customers.” Romano’s birdhouses were becoming popular.
“Customers from all over Long Island, Manhattan to the Hamptons, were inquiring about the birdhouses. I started getting requests to paint the houses that would match the exterior color
scheme of peoples homes.”
But Romano didn’t stop there. He decided to leverage his artistic talent to give back to his community. This past November, Hope House Ministries, run by Father Frank Pizarrelli, held its
Annual Gala Fundraiser. The Gala’s Silent Auction brings in substantial funds that directly support Hope House Ministries, including the Homeless Outreach and the Drug and Alcohol
Recovery Program. John decided to create a birdhouse that could be auctioned at the Gala, but uniquely designed for Hope House. He called it “The Birdhouse of Hope.” This clever design
included 8 sides, 12 nesting cavities, and 12 doors, each representing steps of the recovery journey at Hope House’s Recovery Program. Even the color palette is meaningful: purple
represents forgiveness, green represents hope, gray for humility, and white for the joy and holiness of life. The art piece was auctioned off at an impressive $16,000! “I was always so
inspired by Father Frank and his unwavering commitment to our community. I wanted to support his mission.” Additionally, Romano created a second edition of the Birdhouse of Hope, which is
now on display in the Garden of Remembrance at the Hope House Friary. While this birdhouse certainly represents the journey of recovery, it also does what all birdhouses ought to do: shelter the garden’s many birds. And it sits right next to the statue of Saint Francis, the patron saint of animals.
Romano has decided to continue to use his beautiful pieces for good. Currently, he is raffling off an 8 sided birdhouse for the Rocky Point Historical Societies Hallock House Museum
Preservation Project. “Hallock House is one of the many places that preserves Rocky Point’s special history, and this is my favorite color combination so far,” he shares. Romano is an example of how passion and talent can transform a simple hobby into a way to give back to his community. His actions serve as a reminder that success should be
accompanied by a sense of social responsibility and that art can help a community flourish in many ways.
For more information about John’s birdhouses, please visit Heritage Paint and Home Design in
Rocky Point, visit his website at heritagepaintstore.com, or catch him on Instagram
Christina and Mary Rose Romano