Owner Dan Van Sweden will return to being a full-time dad
After 40 years in business, Van Sweden Jewelers in Kalamazoo, Mich., will close in early May.
Owner Dan Van Sweden (pictured, right), who inherited the store from his father, founder John Van Sweden (pictured, left), recently had two longtime, full-time employees leave. And as the primary caregiver to his four elementary school–age kids, he says he didn’t feel up to the challenge of juggling a hectic home life and the retail business.
“It’s a hard thing, closing the business after 40 years—but it’s the right thing for everyone,” he says. “My kids are at an age where I really want to be with them.”
John, who’s come out of retirement briefly to help with the closing, “understands my situation and sees that it’s the right thing,” says Dan.
The retailer bought the store from his father 12 years ago, but recently realized that he was “just keeping it open to give a few nice people jobs,” he says. “But I realized that there’s no loyalty [with his employees].” Dan adds that he “gave up my summer last year” for one of the two employees who recently quit, so she could go to Africa. When she quit with no notice, he thought, “What am I doing this for?”
Dan’s wife works long and erratic hours at a local hospital, and “she’s really the breadwinner. I’ve always been in charge of the daily [logistics] of the family.”
It’s a role he’s eager to get back to full-time—though he also plans to substitute teach, which he’s done at his kids’ school sporadically, with more frequency.
The retailer is using jewelry store liquidator Wilkerson to close out the store and says he expects inventory will be fully liquidated by Mother’s Day weekend.
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