The fifth-floor store relies on diversification to survive
Nash Jewelry is an institution in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Since opening in 1955, the fine jewelry shop has serviced three generations of families in South Florida, and it’s stayed afloat largely on the power of word-of-mouth marketing, says jeweler and gemologist Greg Nash (pictured here), who co-owns the company with his wife, MaryAnn Nash.
This month, the store celebrates its 60th year in business—its so-called Diamond Jubilee—a milestone Greg credits to the store’s world-class customer service. “Most of the people we work with are, at this point, good friends,” he says. “It’s a very friendly and personal environment.”
But it’s also a fifth-floor operation with virtually no curb appeal. A sign downstairs merely reads “Nash Company” so as not to alert potential robbers to the gemstones upstairs. Zero walk-in traffic would be a challenge for any jewelry retailer. But the Nashes have survived by diversifying and “being able to change course quickly,” says Greg.
“I’m a GIA gemologist, and I’m also a bench jeweler, so I’m that double threat,” he adds. “But I also do appraisals for banks, trusts, and the general public.” Not to mention full-service custom design. “Some gemologists, if they were asked to resize a ring or re-tip diamonds, they’d have to give it someone else. I can do it all.”
And the couple has embraced social media marketing—establishing a presence for the store on all the major social platforms. “Years ago I used to send out letters,” Greg recalls. “And before email, we would call people and even fax photos. Fax! Now I’m snapping pictures for Instagram to send in an [instant] to clients. It’s all changed, and we keep up with the changes.”
Greg’s father, Murrary Nash, opened the store with partner and life-long friend Ceasur Rua in 1955. But the Nash family has been in the jewelry business for more than 120 years. In the early 1900s, Greg’s great grandfather and great grandmother had a jewelry business in Ukraine. “The Bolsheviks killed my great grandfather along with his guard dogs,” Greg explains. They also stole the store. But Greg’s great grandmother was able to escape, paying her way to freedom with diamonds that she sewed into the linings of her pockets.
Greg’s grandfather, Robert Nachshen (the family surname at the time), came to New York and opened a jewelry shop—but eventually decamped to Miami. The first Florida store was called Nash and Rua, and its founders passed their solid work ethic and versatile skill set on to Greg, who still keeps many of their jewelry tools at his bench.
“We’ve been around for so long because we’re highly adaptable,” says Greg. “We’re not waiting around to sell someone chain. There are different facets to the business. We’ve gone through so many recessions; the one in the ’80s was really hard. And the one after 9/11 was terrible. When the bubble burst in the early 2000s? That was awful. But we’re like the Energizer Bunny. We just keep going.”
(Photos courtesy of Nash Jewelry)