Achkar Jewelers, a Youngstown, Ohio, institution for more than 45 years, is shutting down at the end of September—but owner Jeres Achkar says the economy is not to blame.
“Business-wise, it’s been excellent,” he says. “This is our best year in the last four years.”
Achkar turns 80 years old in January, and has no children in the business, so he’s decided to move on.
“Sometimes it’s time to go,” he says.
But Achkar acknowledges the closing is bittersweet.
“It’s very emotional,” he says. “I have lots of good memories.”
Achkar’s father opened a jewelry shop in Cuba in 1925. The family emigrated to the United States in 1965, and set up the first store in Youngstown.
“I started with a mostly small shop, doing mostly trade work,” Achkar says. “And then we expanded.”
He has been taken aback by the reaction to the closing announcement.
“It’s really been incredible,” he says. “I have men, women come in, they just cry. We develop a very close relationship with our customers and they become friends.”
When asked if he has any advice for his peers in the business, Achkar says, “Always bend over backwards to please the customer. You should always have a repair shop, that will increase your business.”
All in all, Achkar has no regrets about becoming a jeweler.
“I have enjoyed every bit of it,” he says. “So many beautiful experiences are in my memory and as the days go by more and more of them come back.”