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Eileen McClelland

Eric Nyman Navigates Changing Business Dynamics

“Just roll with it,” advises the Michigan watchmaker.



Eric Nyman Navigates Changing Business Dynamics
Eric Nyman
Nyman Jewelers, Escanaba, MI

ERIC NYMAN, 89, works six days a week in the jewelry store he bought 54 years ago.

“I gotta do something,” he says.

Then on Sundays, he usually does his laundry.

Nyman says he’s chief-gofer, handling accounting and watch repairs, while his daughter, Sue Parker, is the boss. “She’s calling all the shots,” Nyman says.

“I do what I can to help her out, but ideas change from year to year. I can see the writing on the wall. Everything is changing: watches, clothes, ideas, food, everything has changed so much over the years.”

“There’s not much watch repair,” he adds. “They invented the darn quartz watches and put us watchmakers out of business.”

After he served in the Korean War, Nyman had worked for an auto factory in Michigan, which suddenly began to lay everyone off, so he decided to learn to be a watchmaker, following the example of his uncle, who was a watchmaker in Wisconsin.

He graduated as a master watchmaker from the Bradley University School of Horology in Peoria, IL. He worked as a watchmaker in Kalamazoo, MI, and in Sault Ste. Marie, MI. Then he learned that Feldstein’s, a jewelry store in Escanaba, was for sale.

In 1968, Eric and Betty Nyman bought the store and moved their four daughters to Escanaba. Their youngest daughter, Sue, was not yet old enough to go to school. So, Eric and Betty brought Sue to work with them, and she launched her jewelry career by cleaning showcase glass at age 3.


Nyman enjoyed the day-to-day variety offered by his new career. “It’s different all the time,” he says. “In the auto factory it was the same thing over and over, eight hours a day.”

Parker says she wanted to join her dad in the business since she was in junior high and never considered doing anything else. “I’m lucky that I learned most of what I know from him,” she says.

Nyman is also a long-time member of the local rotary club and the Masons. Jewelry memberships including IJO and RJO have led to exotic vacations, including a trip to the De Beers mine in South Africa.

Retirement is not on the agenda. “If I retire, I’d have to sit home and look at the four walls. I don’t want to do that. I give ‘em my two cents here all the time.”

His best advice? “Times change. Roll with it. Have a good time.”



This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

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