LYNDHURST, N.J. — In a fledgling antique shop on Valley Brook Avenue in Lyndhurst, Moses Cirilo is trying to build a bridge between the past and the present.
The Moe's Treasure Island owner spends his days fixing things — antique furniture, turntables, VCR's, chandeliers, old paintings — and reselling them for a modest profit.
While Cirilo is trying to save a fading romanticism, his business could be the only thing saving him.
"I am barely hanging on by a string here," said Cirilo, who first opened his shop in 2010. "My good relations with my customers and my repairs are all that is keeping me alive."
Once upon a time, the Puerto Rican-native was a successful TV repairman. That profession, much like his current one, has not aged well.
In an attempt to salvage his business, the father of seven is preparing a dramatic reinvention of "Moe's Treasure Island" as of hybrid cafe/antique shop/cultural space that will bring together the younger and older generations.
"I want the young and the old to come here and sip coffee and trade stories," Cirilo explained. "I want the younger generation to learn about the values of the old and how they see life."
Cirilo hopes the reinvention will make "Moe's" more like the old days, when seniors from the local center would visit every Wednesday at 3 p.m. and kids would stop by on their way home from school.
"The seniors aren't interested in spending money here anymore," he said. "The kids are all driving and have girlfriends."
Still, Cirilo is confident that he can transform his shop into something unique and special.
"I'm a surfer dude," he said, recalling his youth roaming the beaches of San Juan. "We don't need money because we have plenty of friends we can't go without.
"I may have made some decisions in my life that cost me financially, but I have a lot of love, and I want to share it."
Moe's Treasure Chest is located at 306 Valley Brook Avenue in Lyndhurst.
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