Closing a jewelry store is a bittersweet moment, and three recent closures of respected jewelers are not a full farewell but a change in the way the owners are approaching what they do day-to-day, the owners say.
In Little Rock, Ark., Roberson’s is holding its liquidation sales following the announcement that its owner, Trish Roberson, is following her husband, Steve, into retirement. Trish Roberson says she is going to continue in jewelry—but in a new way.
In Berea, Ohio, Jim Butchart of Buchards Jewelers says he is closing shop after the December holidays. The store, which fans describe as a “fixture” in the community, had been in business for 34 years. Butchart, too, says he is ready to enjoy retirement.
Another closure is White’s & Co. Jewelry, which is going out of business after 46 years. It was known as the place “where northwest Arkansas gets engaged,” and served as a major community mainstay for custom work, jewelry, and watch and clock repairs.
In July, JCK reported 394 North American jewelry businesses closed their doors in the first half of 2022, a 56% jump from the first half of 2021, according to the regular statistics issued by the Jewelers Board of Trade.
Here is an update on each of these stores and what they’re doing next.
Steve Roberson opened American Gold and Silver in 1980, building a reputation as a top gold coin and bullion expert, Trish says. By 1992, they remodeled the store to become a high-end jewelry boutique, which they named Roberson’s Fine Jewelry.
Steve retired, and Trish took over the jewelry side of the business, becoming one of the female business leaders in her community. She brought in new designer lines, added fashion-forward pieces, and got involved in a variety of local charities, including the American Heart Association and Easterseals.
Trish says one of her favorite aspects of the job was introducing women to new brands and allowing them to get to know designers not only through their jewelry but also in person. Trish says she will continue that work during her retirement, taking groups on tours where they can meet the designer in their studios, for example.
“It was a hard decision to retire,” Trish says. “Steve and I have four grown children, and it hit me that we’ve never enjoyed Christmas Eve together.… I want to be a grandmother, and I want to still enjoy traveling with my friends if they want to meet designers.”
The Ohio jewelry store became part of the Butchart family when Jim’s late wife, Catherine, purchased it from Smith Jewelers. The store became a big part of Butchart’s life when his job at a local Union Carbide plant was eliminated and he started doing jewelry repair and sales at the store. When Catherine died in December 2020, Butchart took over.
Butchart says he is ready to enjoy retirement, and he is looking forward to seeing his children and grandchildren during his travels. His daughter, Christine, lives nearby in Cincinnati and his son, Jim, lives in Denver.
He says he will miss his customers, many of whom became good friends over the years. “The store kept me busy, but now it’s time to move on,” he says.
White’s & Co. Jewelry
The downtown Rogers, Ark., store is closing in part because owner Rick White is retiring to enjoy his family, White says. The store recently started a going-out-of-business sale as well. The full-service jewelry store was also known for its estate jewelry, vintage finds, and original artwork.
White had been in the jewelry business since 1968, and he says he enjoyed meeting with customers and hearing their stories. His most remarkable story was passing up the chance to purchase a copy of the Declaration of Independence, which turned out to be one of the 13 original copies in existence. It ultimately sold for $1 million, he says.
White says these past few years have been among his best. But he is also excited to spend time with his family, which includes three children and 10 grandchildren. He expects to spend a lot of time on his farm.
“It has been a joy to serve all of our customers,” White says.
Top: Roberson’s Fine Jewelry is in the midst of its going-out-of-business sale with owner Trish Roberson looking to close the store and engage more fully in travel and family, she says (photos courtesy of Roberson’s Fine Jewelry).@jckmagazine
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