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Clayton Bromberg, Long-Standing Leader of Underwood’s in Jacksonville, Florida, Appoints Michael Richards as President

Michael Richards, integral to Underwood’s success, will now oversee the company’s corporate culture, vision, and operations.

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(PRESS RELEASE) JACKSONVILLE, FL — Underwood’s, the premier jewelry retailer with three distinctive stores in the Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra Beach area, announced the appointment of Michael Richards as President, effective July 1, 2024. Clayton Bromberg, who has served as Chairman & President since 1988, has transitioned to the role of Chairman and will remain active in the business.

Clayton Bromberg, Long-Standing Leader of Underwood’s in Jacksonville, Florida, Appoints Michael Richards as President

Clayton Bromberg

Bromberg’s tenure at Underwood’s has been marked by exceptional growth and a steadfast commitment to quality and customer service. His role as Chairman will allow him to continue to influence the strategic direction, merchandising, diamond buying, and inventory procurement of the company while entrusting daily operations to Richards.

“Michael joined Underwood’s early in his professional career as a store manager over 30 years ago. In the past three decades, Michael’s expertise and passion for the jewelry industry, along with his achievements in leadership outside of the business, make him the ideal leader for Underwood’s. In 2020, he took a more active role in operations and executive leadership, and it has been a natural progression to name him as President officially. I am very proud of the leader he has become and look forward to seeing the company continue to thrive under his direction,” Bromberg stated.

Clayton Bromberg, Long-Standing Leader of Underwood’s in Jacksonville, Florida, Appoints Michael Richards as President

Michael Richards

Michael Richards, who has been a pivotal part of Underwood’s success story, will now lead the company’s overall corporate culture, vision, and operational functions. “I am honored to step into the role of President and continue the legacy of excellence that Underwood’s is known for,” said Richards. “Our commitment to quality in materials, craftsmanship, design, presentation, education, and service will remain our guiding principles as we move forward. Clayton’s dedication to the business and his commitment to customer satisfaction have made him not only a mentor to me and the generations of staff but a respected figure in the industry and a pillar in our community. His vision and leadership have been pivotal in upholding the value and reputation of Underwood’s.”

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Underwood Jewelers was founded in 1928 by industry legend Herbert F. Underwood, starting as a diamond and watch store in Palatka, Florida, just before The Great Depression. Underwood expanded to Jacksonville, Florida, in 1940. At the start of World War II, Mr. Underwood sold the Palatka store and consolidated in Jacksonville. Underwood’s continued expansion included opening its first branch store in the San Marco neighborhood of Jacksonville in 1953. Throughout the ’60s and ’70s, Underwood’s used television advertising to educate customers and build trust.

In 1974, Mr. Underwood sold his business to one of the oldest and most respected family jewelry businesses in the country, Bromberg and Company. The Bromberg family jewelry business was founded in Alabama in 1836 and is the oldest business in that state. Frank Bromberg, Herb Underwood’s long-time friend, urged him to stay active in the day-to-day operations, which he did until 1980. Herb Underwood worked on a part time basis from 1980 until his death in 1999. He was instrumental in the training of Clayton from 1980 until his appointment as President of Underwood’s in 1988.

Under Clayton Bromberg’s leadership, Underwood’s has been instrumental in upholding high standards of ethical practices and customer satisfaction built by the generations before him and has earned numerous prestigious awards and recognition. Clayton has served on many boards such as Jewelers of America, American Gem Society (AGS), Jewelers Vigilance Committee, Florida Jewelers Association, The Better Business Bureau, and served as President of the American Gem Society from 1995 until 1997. He also has served on the American Gem Society Laboratory Board since 1996 and served as its chairman from 2005 to 2008 as well as from 2016 until 2020. In 2003, Underwood’s and Clayton Bromberg were recognized for their dedication to the jewelry industry at large and inducted into the National Jewelers Hall of Fame. He has been honored with some of the most prestigious awards, including the American Gem Society Robert M. Shipley Award (2004), the American Gem Society Triple Zero Award (2013), and the Women’s Jewelry Association Ben Kaiser Award (2015).

Michael Richards began his jewelry career in high school at Harper’s Jewelry while taking gemology classes at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). After high school, he worked at T. K. Dodrill Jewelers and pursued a business management degree at Marshall University. Richards joined Underwood’s in 1990 as a store manager, where he completed his GIA and AGS coursework, earning the title of Certified Gemologist in 1991. His dedication and expertise led to his promotion to Vice President in 2008 and eventually to Chief Operating Officer in 2018.

In his executive role at Underwood’s, Richards oversees the watch departments, multiple jewelry lines, repair departments, human resources, accounts payable and receivable, compliance, and various other executive responsibilities. Richards is also active in the community, serving on a Catholic School Board and as Treasurer of the longest-running community theatre in the Southeastern United States. In the industry, he has held significant positions, including Vice President of the Jeweler Vigilance Committee and President of the American Gem Society Board from 2020 to 2022.

Underwood’s is well-known and respected in the national and international jewelry industry for its quality operation. Annually named by the readers of Folio Weekly and Jacksonville Magazine as Northeast Florida’s Finest Jeweler, Underwood’s commitment to high-quality diamonds, jewelry, watches, and giftware is unwavering.

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“As we look ahead to the next 10 years and embark on this new chapter, I am excited about the opportunities ahead for Underwood’s,” Bromberg added. “We will continue to innovate while staying true to the principles that have made us a trusted name in jewelry for nearly a century.”

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