Passing on the family business has been the tradition for the past 100 years for Terzako Furs in Caldwell.
Michael Kambourakis and his son, Elias, have continued the tradition of being in the fur business for 10 generations, following in the footsteps of Michael’s grandfather, Eric Rouskas and his uncle Harry Terzako.
It started when the two decided to leave Kastoria, Greece in 1913. Kastoria was and still is the genesis of fur in Europe.
Rouskas and Terzako settled in Newark. They started in working for Best & Company and on the side they made fur coats, collars and trimmings.
At that time, America was the land of skins and trapping of wild broad tail, mink, muskrat, raccoons and beavers. Foxes came later on in the 1930’s.
When farming started in the 1930’s and 1940’s the family got better quality mink and fox pelts. The fur industry grew to a point that it is now all over the world.
The family opened a store on High Street in Newark, then moved to 19 Prospect Street in East Orange. They moved to the Caldwells in the early 1970’s. The family members continued to be a part of the business.
During high school and college, Kambourakis began to work in the business. After graduating college and graduate school, he became a specialist in the spectrum of autism. His love of family made him decide to become the ninth generation in Terzako furs, and his son Elias has joined him and is now the 10th generation.
Terzako Furs is a full service furrier, gearing its business to custom work, and are one of the few custom houses in the country. The sources for the furs have grown to be all over the world. Thousands of satisfied customers from the tri-state area continue to buy fur coats, jackets, vests and other unique fur items from Terzako Furs. In addition the store makes on premise raincoats, shearlings, capes and fur blankets. Several years it began to import leathers from Italy.
And when it comes to storing and cleaning furs for the summer, the store’s on-site fur vaults are the perfect vacation place! Of course Terzako had a complimentary remodeling consultation and will update old furs to the latest style.
According to Kambourakis, his fur business is important, but his humanitarian work is his passion. He initiated helping the people of The Dominican Republic years ago by himself, as he saw the need for clean water, educational supplies, clothing so kids could go to school medicines and anything else he thought would help the people become educated, and healthy.
His dreams of a medical facility has become a reality thanks to support of doctors, hospitals and the Caldwell Rotary, where he is a very active member, among other sponsors. He has been responsible in raising funds for five buildings and the clinic in partnership with LIG Global & Global Health from Barnabas Health and Robert Wood Johnson. Visit dominicanrelief.org for more information.
Kambourakis’ family who came to America would surely be proud of his success in the family business they started, and also of the good deeds that benefit people with his caring, warm heart.
To celebrate its 100th anniversary, they are offering a store wide 20 percent off showroom sale until June 30. Stay tuned for other events that will be happening throughout the year.