Charles Department Store is a family owned and operated independent specialty store located in Katonah, NY. Celebrating 90 years in October 2014, Charles Department Store is distinguished by a long tradition of personal service and an impeccable selection of handpicked, high quality merchandise. With Victorian-style clapboard walls, original tin ceilings and creaky wooden floors, Charles takes shoppers back to a time when retailers existed within a community and built their business one satisfied customer at a time.
Present owners David and Jim Raneri point with pride to photos of their grandparents, Charles and Isabelle Raneri, who founded the original Charles Dry Goods store in 1924.
Charles Raneri emigrated to the United States from Sicily when he was 14 years old. Settling in Mt. Kisco, he worked as a peddler along the railroad. He took orders from customers in Northern Westchester and traveled to New York City to fulfill them, thus bringing about his famous saying “You can’t sell from an empty cart”. It wasn’t long before Charles opened his own store in Mt. Kisco, moving later to a larger premise in Bedford Hills. In 1939, he moved his establishment again, this time to its present location in the heart of Katonah Avenue, directly across from the old train depot
In the 1940s, Charles Raneri’s son, Phillip, joined the family business, bringing his background in radio engineering and electronics to the growing store. In 1950, Phillip married Claire Schroeder and a family of five followed — four boys and one girl. While the entire Raneri family worked in the store from time to time, David and Jim chose to follow in the footsteps of their father and grandfather and run the family business. Today, David and Jim Raneri co-own the store, and have stayed true to their grandfather’s vision of incomparable personal service, combined with contemporary, top quality products.