After more than half a century in business, Fleisher Jewelers in Hyattsville, Md., will close its doors at the end of the year.
“Unfortunately, there’s no room for mom-and-pop stores anymore,” Fred Fleisher, manager of the historic shop, says.
Fred’s father, William Fleisher, opened the business in 1949, moving the store to its current location in 1962.
For decades, William was devoted to the full-service jewelry store. “My mother said she never had to worry about my father fooling around behind her back, because his mistress was the store,” Fred says with a laugh.
Since its opening, Fleisher’s has been actively involved in the Hyattsville community. William sponsored local sports teams including the Washington Redskins and was involved in the Miss Hyattsville Pageant.
Fred, 49, began working in the store when he was only 12 years old and assumed management in 2005, when his father’s health began to decline. “I’ve been in the store since I was three months old,” Fred says. “It’s become a part of me.”
Although the retail business has transformed over the years, Fleisher Jewelers holds true to its traditional values. In fact, the inside of the store displays signs urging customers to turn off their cell phones and Fred even had to bring in his own computer, something his father was originally against.
Fleisher’s also prides itself on the tradition of customer service. “I have a customer who has been coming in since the mid-80s ever since he’s been dating his now-wife,” Fred says. “They aren’t just customers anymore, they’ve turned into friends.”
“We never liked to tell our customers no,” he continues. “ If you needed something, we’d try to get it for you.”
Although superstores and online shopping have recently slowed business, Fred recalls a happier time when the store was flourishing. “We were extremely busy in the 80s and 90s,” Fred says. “I remember the busy holiday seasons when my father would bring in food for his customers and enlist his friends to help him wrap packages.”
While Fred’s future in retail is uncertain, his 37 years in the jewelry store will always be cherished memories. “I’d like to thank my customers, employees, and the vendors that we’ve had,” Fred says. “The people you work with become your family and I am going to miss them.”