Sometimes finding a partner for your business can be a difficult challenge. Other times they happen to fall right into your lap. The latter was the case between John Ferro and Bonnie Parente, who recently joined the former’s new Mineola office at 190 East Jericho Turnpike.
“John approached me and said he had space in his office and encouraged me to hang a shingle,” Parente said.
The two had known each other from their time on the East Williston Village Board, with Parente serving as deputy mayor from her election in 2010 while Ferro held tenure for one 4-year from 2007-11.
“When I heard that Bonnie was looking to go out on her own, having known her from the trustees, I asked her if she’d like to come with me,” Ferro said. “This is a logical choice.”
Added Parente: “We made a quick alliance and friendship and now colleagues.”
The arrangement is only for office space, not a traditional partnership, with Ferro running his business consulting and accounting practice out of one room and Parente operating out of what was once a conference room.
“I thought it would be a good idea to have a mixture of an accountant and an attorney in the office,” Ferro said. “We can serve clients’ needs in multiple ways; we can deal with the financial income tax end of it and any legal issues such as formation of corporations, wills, estates, trusts and so forth.”
Ferro had been in the 190 East Jericho Turnpike location since May 2012 after moving from 490 Jericho Turnpike near Mineola Bicycle.
“My lease was up and I wanted something closer to home,” he said, “and I live only a couple blocks away, plus I wanted to upgrade my environment.”
He currently boasts over 1,000 clients, located across New York State as well as in Florida and Las Vegas.
Parente earned her law degree from Toro Law after completing undergraduate work at Hofstra and is also a graduate of Mineola High School. She had served as a labor and employment attorney for the last 18 years in private practice for Jackson Lewis, Newsday and the NY Racing Association and was named to the North Hempstead Women’s Roll of Honor. She is currently married to Kevin Parente, a history teacher at Chaminade High School.
“I’d welcome you back to Mineola but the truth is you never left,” Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony from the chamber of commerce at the office on Thursday night.
Ferro graduated from St. John’s University and opened up his practice 30 years ago, specialize in business income tax, corporate and personal and non-profits, after retiring from the New York Fire Department where he had served fro 22 years. He is still one of the East Williston Fire Commissioners and helped in the recovery efforts at Ground Zero.
“I was retired and when 9-11 happened, I responded,” he said, recalling his wife’s phone call informing him of the unfolding events and holding up a one-star medal – indicating he responded within 24 hours – engraved with the number 343 for the number of firefighters who perished in the attacks.
“When we were on the board together, we just seemed to have similar viewpoints, similar opinions on things, so it’s a good relationship,” Ferro said.
When asked what makes the office accommodations work, Parente said “mutual respect, trust,” as well as “just knowing that our personalities are going to work together because when you’re sharing space you need to click.”