Robin Greenwald Gilbert G.O. ’77 attended Manhattanville College outside New York City. Once she experienced life in the Big Apple, she never thought she’d return to Cleveland.
But the universe had other plans. Robin fought the urge to return home and take over the family business, but she was destined for it all along.
Today, Robin runs that business, Greenwald Antiques, with her twin brother, Ron. Their mother launched the business in 1959. Robin recounts a childhood as fabled as some of the store’s antiques.
Growing up Greenwald meant working Saturdays at the store during high school; researching and polishing antiques at home in the evenings; and dazzling classmates with rarities at Show and Tell.
“It truly was a family affair,” says Robin, who was traveling to road shows and appraising items as a high school student.
While their mother founded and grew the business in its original location at Mayfield and Lee, Robin and Ron took it to new heights. Today, Greenwald Antiques has two locations, one across from Eton Collection on Chagrin Boulevard and another on Mercantile Road in Commerce Park. By now, Greenwald Antiques is esteemed worldwide, thanks to its four decades of participation in international antique shows.
While antiques have changed much since Robin's and Ron’s mom ran the business, in some ways collecting still resembles life in the Greenwald household all those years ago: “Every day is different,” Robin says. “I never know what I’m going to find or whom I’m going to meet, and that’s what makes it exciting.”
What do you want to say about your husband and your kids?
My husband, Terry Gilbert, is an extraordinary guy. He is a criminal defense and civil rights attorney who cut his teeth as an attorney at Wounded Knee, the sacred land in South Dakota. We share a love of different cultures, history and travel. Our twin sons, Benjamin and Julian, share similar interests, too.
What impact has working together had on your relationship with Ron?
It’s an interesting dynamic, because we started out in the womb together and here we are, partners. Like any relationship, it can be rocky, but we both love what we do and it always ties us together. We have different strengths and weaknesses, so we complement each other beautifully.
How much do instincts play a role in your expertise?
A tremendous amount. I would never let anybody dictate my taste. Like something because of what you see, not just because it says “Tiffany” when you turn it over.
What can you say about Glen Oak?
Glen Oak really focused on our interests as individuals. As a student there, I got all sorts of opportunities to express my interests and put them into practice. It was a great opportunity.