Stuart Rooney combines a passion for Asian culture and art with an old Irish family business name at his shop in downtown Lake Worth. He is the proprietor of John A. Rooney Imports, located at 508 Lake Avenue. The shop’s name is an homage to the family business founded by his great grandfather in Dublin in 1845, “John A. Rooney – Engraver & Die Caster”. The Rooneys have documented their family roots in Dublin back to 1014 AD at the famous Battle of Clontarf, where the Irish decisively defeated the Vikings and ended their control of Dublin. Stuart has been a resident of West Palm Beach for 21 years, and worked as a controller at The Breakers Hotel and then as senior loan officer for a mortgage company until he decided to open his own business. The soft-spoken Rooney, with white hair, crystal blue eyes and precise Anglo-Irish accent, greets visitors to his shop from a front counter surrounded by an exotic mix of Asian merchandise.
“John A. Rooney Imports specializes in hand-picked and hand-crafted imports from around the world. Our selection of hand-carved and hand-painted furniture from India delights the senses and adds exotic and unique appeal to the comforts of home. Our sumptuous fabrics add color, richness, and texture. Clothing is loose, flowing, and cool for ease of wear and comfort. Our jewelry includes silver, bead, and semi-precious stonework from India as well as beautiful beadwork from Central America. Our housewares department includes numerous accessories to complement your dining and living areas. All items are hand-picked by me, Stuart Rooney, on buying trips around the globe. We take great pride in bringing you one-of-a-kind items at reasonable prices.” says his website.
Stuart’s passion for Asian culture and art began as a small child. “I was an army brat”, says Stuart. His father was a soldier, and took his Dutch wife and family along to exotic postings in India, Nepal, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Brunei. Stuart’s father served for decades in the famed Brigade of Gurkhas of the British Army. A childhood spent among the vivid colors and sights of Asia inspired Stuart to open his Asian import shop. He travels to the East three times per year to purchase goods for the shop, primarily from India and Malaysia.