Bowers Jewelers keeps on ticking
From watches to antique Russian icons and engagement rings to mother of pearl spoons - whether it’s maintaining, fixing or changing them - Bowers Jewelers seems to have it all and do it all.
After more than 60 years in business, they’ve kept themselves relevant by keeping themselves versatile.
“It’s the kind of jewelry store that every town had one of that did everything,” long-time employee Chris Janke said recently.
When Ronald and Margaret Bowers started the business in 1945 it was on Wall Street. In 1963, they moved it to the current location at 7860 Girard Ave.
About a decade later, Lawrence Combe began working at Bowers, first as a designer and then as a bench jeweler. He eventually became a gemologist and took over the running of the store with his wife Sheila when the Bowers officially retired in 1981.
Bowers has always carried a wide variety of gifts and jewelry.
“We used to even carry flatware and china,” said Sheila.
They may have slightly concentrated the items they sell, but the selection remains broad enough to have buoyed Bowers through the recent uncertain Christmas season.
“Fortunately, if they were not buying big diamonds, they were buying a nice little vase,” said Janke.
The maintenance and repair side of the business has also continued giving Bowers a healthy flow of customers despite an uncertain economy.
Janke estimates that they do about 20 repairs a day. And he says they’ll work on anything.
“We’ve even had to connect a rhinestone brassiere together,” he said. “Nothing is too big or small.”
It seems that same rule is applied when looking for things to sell in the store.
“Sheila is a great buyer,” said Janke. “What I mean by that is, anyone can buy what they like, but Sheila can buy for other people’s tastes, and at all different price points.”
Magnifying glasses from Italy, pocketknives, grandfather clocks - they can all be found. And Bowers can keep them ticking too.