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Hauser’s Jewelers Celebrates 120 Years in Business

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(PRESS RELEASE) What began as a small watch repair shop in downtown Newport News in 1898, owned and operated by Alfred Jacob Hauser, Sr., has grown into a multifaceted, full-service resource for formal, classic and artist-inspired jewelry.

Hauser’s Jewelers is a five-generation business that this year celebrates its 120th anniversary. Third generation patriarch Alfred W. Hauser, now 92, says, ” I am grateful to have watched this business bloom under the leadership of my son Lee, and now my granddaughter Amy.”

According to Joseph Astrachan, Ph.D., editor, Family Business review, only 3% of all family businesses operate at the fourth-generation level and beyond.

Having a new generation in the wings can be golden. This has proven to be the case for Hauser’s.

Easily accessible on the Peninsula, Hauser’s central location is ideal for all of Hampton Roads.

Vicki and Lee Hauser, he is fourth generation, are the former owners, opting for retirement and selling the business in 2014 to their daughter and son-in-law, Amy and Brad Hart.

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Amy, a graduate of East Carolina University and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design with a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts, joined the family business in 1998.

That same year brought registered jeweler Brad Hart aboard, rising to store manager in 2000. In 2005, he married Amy. You don’t have to ask where her engagement and wedding rings were purchased!

Vicki and Lee along with Amy and Brad cite customer service; traditional and more modern inventory with across-the-board price points; and a combination of hard-copy marketing and today’s digital platforms as other key factors to their longevity.

“Retail is changing,” says Brad. “It’s a hard landscape to navigate… There’s a reverence to the past, but you’ve got to keep current.”

Word of mouth is always in style.

Patty and Bob Feely of Newport News have shopped Hauser’s’ since 1968.

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“Because of that wonderful first experience, we’ve never left Hauser’s. It’s that one-on-one, first-name basis of warmth and caring that makes Hauser’s Jewelers such a special place to shop,” Patty Feely says.

Dial the store and there’s no automated menu, no recorded voice with a countdown to the next agent.

Intergenerational buying has become a tradition for the Feely family. Their daughters’ engagement rings have all come from Hauser’s.

That tradition is also evidenced by one of Hauser’s younger fans, Sydney Suttle. Her favorite memory was on her 18th Birthday. “My Nana called and asked me to meet her at Hauser’s,” says the Newport

News resident. “She said she had something picked out for me, and she said, ‘you’re gonna love it.'”

“I wear that pendant all the time and, to this day, when I wear it, I think of her.”

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While the brick-and-mortar storefront is essential for appealing to those wanting to see, touch and try on the bling, shoppers can go online to find Hauser’s and will soon be able to purchase online as well.

“We’re all getting busier,” says Amy Hart. “You have to be online to be in the game and be relevant.”

When Drew Archbald moved to the area to be a high school math teacher, he and his fiancée Kristyn needed a jeweler.

He went online.

“And by sheer dumb luck, Hauser’s came up first,” he says. They’ve become repeat customers.

Amy has designed the store’s first private label collection, called Hauser’s Be Happy, in 18-karat gold with diamonds. A paper necklace crafted of smiley faces that daughter, Cecilia, made was the inspiration for the line, which is made in New York and starts at $1,320.

“You need us because we have things you won’t find anywhere else, with personal connections and pieces unique to us,” says Amy Hart. “We change things seasonally to keep the store fresh and inviting.”

This anniversary year will feature some celebratory events including several trunk shows, an exhibit at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center and a Birthday Gala later this season.

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