Fotis MANOUSAKIS is the name of the founder of this company. He was one of the first jewelers and goldsmiths in what was at the time a fledgling market in the Medieval Quarter of the City of Rhodes. Limited was the range of tools that this man had in his hands at the time, both in number and in terms of capacity. Despite that, he worked his way to mastering the craft of shaping silver and – rarer at the time – gold, in original jewels.
Fotis Manousakis opened his first outlet on Sokratous street, in 1954. On the day he opened the store, his stock consisted in fifteen gold rings, thirteen gold bracelets and some thirty silver rings. Then, sales after sales, the upgrading of the premises continued. A first domain of specialty: that of brooches (see photo), featuring landscapes of Rhodes. So refined was the craftsmanship behind those confections that nothing but a furtive look at them sufficed for one to realize Fotis Manousakis’ gusto and the enthusiasm he put in each concept. Then came rings of all kinds, necklaces and bracelets. Depictions of Mandraki, of the Elafos and Elafina Italian Royal Retreats, the omnipresent three Windmills found their way on the works of Manousakis’ art.
Then, in 1961, the craftsman took a further step, launching a second outlet at 118, Sokratous street. His daughter Helena nostalgically recalls all the summer seasons she had to spend by her father’s side, working herself to exhaustion to promote the family trade.
In 1978, Petros Kounakis – then still a salesman at one of the jewelry and goldsmithery outlets of Fotis Manousakis – fell for the latter’s daughter, Helena. The affair soon matured to a wedding, heralding the start of the new generation of goldsmiths that came to enrich the Rhodian social tissue. “Petros & Helena” soon became a well-recognized brand on the island, a true emblem of the successful relationship of two people that chose to be together in business and in private life.
The tally was later to be passed on to the members of an up-and-coming generation of goldsmiths. Over the years, the outlets of the chain benefited from the boom in trade, with innumerous customers flowing in from Rhodes as well as from other countries to do their jewelry shopping at one of the “Petros & Helena” stores. Thus came the year that was to become a milestone for the business: it was 2004, the year on which the family celebrated 50 years of presence and operation of the trade.
On with the course of time. The tally is passed on to the following generation, the third in row. That was the time when Fotis Manousakis’ grandson Panagiotis Kounakis gave his grandfather the promise to work towards evolving the trade of goldsmith – and good his promise he did! The “Petros & Helena” brand name gave way to the “KOUNAKIS” brand, sealing the arrival to the trade of a new generation of goldsmiths that saw in this new name a symbol of their commitment to the continuation of the family tradition in the trade.
An unhappy event came to disturb the smooth course of life of the family. It was in 2007, when the outlet at 103, Sokratous street was broken into by members of the internationally notorious criminal band “Pink Panthers”. The store was practically stripped off all of its stock in luxury watches and exceptionally valuable pieces of jewelry, a blow of several thousand Euros to the business’ finance.
Whoever thought that would bring the KOUNAKIS brand to its knees was to be disappointed: starting anew, the family decided to close down the first outlet while at the same time opening new, tasteful premises on the corner of Pindarou and Vyzantiou streets. An air of refreshed optimism started just as soon to be felt all around. Prestigious houses like Breitling, Cartier, Panerai and Jaeger quickly came forth to provide their support of the new venture, building on the long years of trust they had righteously invested in Petros and Helena and their successors, Panagiotis and Theodora, the best foundation for a profitable operation and expansion of any business.
This is 2012. The trade is now in the hands of the first-born of the Kounakis family and his sister Theodora, two highly skilled, very gifted young people full of ambition.
In this long story through time, no one could ever afford to forget the valuable collaborators that helped the family pursue its trade in each one of the outlets. Nor could anyone omit to give a righteous credit to all the firm representatives and the houses themselves for their consistent trust in us – and, of course, one should quote our devoted clientele, our beloved customers that keep coming back to our outlets and with most of who our family has come to build long-lasting ties, after all these years of socializing and transacting.