Just as it seemed like an unprecedented number of celebrities died in 2016 (though that’s debatable), it sure felt like last year was the worst one ever for jewelers closing up shop.
So far, the total stands at 981 jewelry business closures for the first three quarters of the year. Barring a fourth-quarter spike, that will likely come out as less than the 1,271 closures the Jewelers Board of Trade recorded in 2010, the 2,077 (!) it logged in 2009, or the 1,379 it found in 2008.
In many cases, these discontinuances didn’t stem from bad business; rather, the store owners simply decided they were tired and it was time to pack it in. In quite a few instances, the physical location is shutting down but the business isn’t, as the owners transition to online-only or working by appointment.
Nor is this unique to jewelry: This week, Business Insider wrote that retailers are bracing for a wave of store closures. “The United States has 23.5 square feet of retail space per person,” says the site, “compared with 16.4 square feet in Canada and 11.1 square feet in Australia—the next two countries with the highest retail space per capita.”
In fact, even with all this consolidation, there are still far more independent jewelers than other types of retailers, simply because jewelry lends itself to brick-and-mortar shopping.
As we have for the last two years, let’s take a moment to salute all the jewelers who reportedly announced they were closing their doors this year, in our version of the Oscars In Memoriam reel. Some of them served their community for a century or more.
So here’s to you…
Donn Powers Jeweler, Milwaukee; V.V. Vick, Jewelers, Columbus, Ga.: Gaalaas Jewelers, Stillwater, Minn.; Wexler Jewelry, Houston; Maxwell Jewelers, Winston-Salem, N.C.; Schmidt’s Jewelry, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.; Lindsey’s Jewelry, Harrisonville, Mo.; Lee Jewelers, Mayfield Heights, Ohio; Volkmann Diamonds, Kankakee, Ill.; John S. Price Jeweler, Frazer, Pa.; Stevens Jewelers, Glen Allen, Va.; Page-Parsons Jewelers, Grand Junction, Colo.; Waterbury Fine Jewelers, Watertown, N.Y.; Rogers Jewelers, Great Falls, Mont.; Martin’s Jewelers, Brandon, Fla.; Stephens Jewelers, Hot Springs, Ark.; Churchill Jewelers, Santa Barbara, Calif.; Beauchamp Jewelers, Albuquerque, N.M.; Fremeau Jewelers, Burlington, Vt.; Bachrach’s Jewelers, Richmond, Va.; Scoville Jewelers, Glens Falls, N.Y.; Jack Weinstein’s Tower of Jewels, Las Vegas; Robert’s Jewelers, Southhold, N.Y.; Alvin Magnon Jewelers, Tampa, Fla.; Sasha’s Jewelry, Indianapolis; The Jewel Box Jewelers, Campbell, Calif.; Gold Ray Jewelers, Hackensack, N.J.; Zerbe Jewelers, Colorado Springs, Colo.; Everson’s Jewelry, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Kimpel’s Jewelry, Columbiana, Ohio; Gems by Chao, Houston; Deister & Butler, Elmira, N.Y.; Bagley & Co., Duluth, Minn.; Buschemeyer’s Jewelers, Louisville, Ky.; Supreme Jewelers, Hyde Park, lll.; Van Sweden Jewelers, Kalamazoo, Mich.; Stanley Jewelers Gemologist, North Little Rock, Ark. (pictured); Thalheimers Jewelers, Naples, Fla.; Rinaldi Jewelry, Solon, Ohio; Steve Hydock Jewelers, Kingston, Pa.; Washington Jewelers, Washington, N.C.; Shrode Jewelers, Sarasota, Fla.; Cameo Shop, Norton, Mass.; Charlotte’s Jewelry, Montgomery, Ala.; Stanley Jewelry, Emporia, Kan.; Dorfman Jewelers, Boston; Signatures Fine Jewelry, Wichita, Kan.; Baucom-Phillips Jewelers, Kannapolis, N.C.; Bentley’s Fine Jewelry and Repair, Scottsbluff, Neb.; Michael C. Fina, New York City; Mills Jewelry, Bowling Green, Ohio; Marilyn’s, Burlingon, Vt.; McWhorter Jewelers, Ramona, Calif.; Butler Truax Jewelers, Selma, Ala.; Ryan’s Jewelry, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.; Diamonds on the Avenue, Davenport, Iowa; Levinson Jewelers, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Forney’s Jewelers, Dover, Del.; Stout Family Jewelers, Kinston, N.C.; Oletowne Jewelers, Pottstown, Pa.; Connor Jewelry Store, Shelbyville, Ind.; Readers Fine Jewelers, Santa Monica, Calif.; Weber Jewelers, Dayton, Ohio; Weinzierl Jewelry, Waconia, Minn.; JJ Jax, Cookeville, Tenn.; Showroom of Elegance, Canton, Mich.; McCarley’s Jewelry, Longview, Texas; Stuart’s Jewelers, Lubbock, Texas; Altier Jewelers, Scranton, Pa.; Krumrich’s Jewelers, Waukesha, Wis.; Jewels by James, Tulsa, Okla.; Douglas Jewelry Design, Bend, Ore.
Many of these stores added real value to their communities and the industry. They deserve credit for fighting the good fight.
(Photo courtesy of Stanley Jewelers Gemologist)
UPDATE: Wick & Greene has rebranded as Spicer Greene.