Seattle mainstay Menashe & Sons relies on a son and daughter to uphold its sparkling reputation
Jack Menashe, owner of Menashe & Sons Jewelers in Seattle, got his start in the jewelry business in the 1960s as a stock boy for a breed of retail store that’s long been extinct. “It carried jewelry and china, but also radios and stereos and all kinds of electronics,” he says. “And those stores always had a high school stock boy. I can truly say I’ve done it all in the jewelry industry—from cleaning toilets to owning a business.” Ten years after entering the trade, Menashe opened his eponymous store in his native Seattle. The shop, which boasts one of the largest estate jewelry collections in the Northwest, has been the go-to jeweler for generations of Seattleites. But it became even more family-friendly when Joanna and Josh Menashe, Jack’s youngest daughter and oldest son, joined in 1996 and 2006, respectively. “I think any father would want to work with his kids,” says Jack. “I can’t begin to tell you how happy it makes me.”
Joanna: I would come into the store as a little girl and always loved it. It was fun and glamorous. When I was older I worked here every summer. There was no pressure to join the business, but it never dawned on me not to go into it.
Josh: I was in college and playing baseball and had helped out at the store during Christmas. It took me a while before I was ready to get more serious about life. My niche has been selling and CAD design. I like to sell that engagement ring, then help the couple find something for their one-year anniversary. I like to sell on that romance.
Jack: Josh is a great people person. He’s a leader and he makes people feel good. I had a very good business before he came into it, but he took it to another level. Joanna is an excellent salesperson. Their youth, energy, and understanding of the Internet and other modern tools have helped me transition from some of the older ways of doing business to some of the newer ways. But this is still a place where people can come in and talk about local sports and things going on in the community.
Joanna: Dad taught us that whether it’s a $100 sale or a $150,000 sale, you treat everyone the same. And you can never judge a book by its cover. You think they’re not going to buy much and then they walk out with a huge piece. He’s also such a generous man. He donates to everyone who comes through the door. My brother and I really want to keep that [heritage] of generosity going—that big heart.
Joanna: Because Josh and my dad are family, I know where they’re going to go in any situation. There’s no competitiveness; I trust them. When you’re working with your family, you have to make sure everyone’s honest and everyone is being respected.
Josh: Being involved in a family business gives you a lot of pride. But it really does have to be a good fit. My sister and I are here because we have a true passion for the business.