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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.”

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.



Time for More “Me Time”? Time to Call Wilkerson

Rick White, owner of White’s & Co. Jewelry in Rogers, Ark., knew it was time to retire. Since the age of 18, jewelry had been his life. Now it was time to get that “me time” every retailer dreams about. So, he chose Wilkerson to manage his going-out-of-business sale. White says he’d done plenty of sales on his own, but this was different. “Wilkerson has been a very, very good experience. I’ve had the best salespeople in the history of jewelry,” he says. “I recommend Wilkerson because they are really the icon of the jewelry business and going-out-of-business sales. They’ve been doing it for decades. I just think they’re the best.”

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