King’s Jewelry, the 100-year-old New Castle, Pa., jewelry chain, is now owned by two members of the founding Perelman family.
Owners Jennifer and David Perelman, the children of former executive vice president John Perelman, also serve as president and vice president, respectively. The new entity, named Perelman Family Jewelry (doing business as King’s Jewelry) has been slimmed down considerably: Where it once numbered 51 stores, it now has only eight—six in Pennsylvania and two in Ohio.
King’s Jewelry (also known as King’s of New Castle) was jointly owned by family members and the Renco Group since 1981. But when John died in the 1990s, and longtime president Dale Perelman (Jennifer and David’s uncle) retired at the end of 2006, under the terms of the original sale, their shares were sold to Renco. Since 2008, the family has had no involvement in the business.
But last year, Jennifer and David, the greatgrandchildren of its founder, heard murmurs of a possible sale and decided to look into purchasing it themselves.
“My sister and I grew up in the jewelry industry,” says David. “And we have always had a connection to the industry, even when we left King’s Jewelry. Seven and a half years ago we were traveling around buying estate gold. When that business slowed down, we looked into buying a store.”
So when they heard King’s might be available, they were definitely interested but wanted to be rational about it.
“There was an emotional connection, but we had to take that out of it,” he says. “We didn’t want to invest in a business that wasn’t performing well.”
When they purchased the chain in June, it comprised 22 stores; the Perelmans cherry-picked the best eight.
“The stores we purchased were $1 million-plus stores,” says Jennifer. “Those eight were stronger than all the others combined.”
They also made cuts from the corporate office, which was still meant to support a 50-store chain, David says. It now consists of the two siblings and three support people.
The company plans to give all the stores makeovers and add new LED lighting, new inventory, and new computers. It also wants to beef up e-commerce.
“We want to be known as being a community jeweler again,” David says. “We want to get involved locally, start donating to charities.”
“One of the [old owners’] biggest mistakes is they let go of the store support, and you could see it in the way the stores looked, in how they were run. People have been buying from us for generations. By putting in the right merchandise, by putting in the right team, we think we can get the cash register ringing.”