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Eileen McClelland

Integrity is the Priority for David Adams

Honesty ensures longevity of century-old Albany, NY, jewelry store.



Integrity is the Priority for David Adams
David Adams
Frank Adams Jewelers, Albany, NY

AS THE 84-YEAR-OLD CEO of his 100-year-old family business, David Adams says his proudest moment came when his daughter, Kimberly Adams Russell, decided to join him in the business.

Kimberly says she had a role model worth following.

“My dad instilled in me that integrity in business far outweighs money and fortune,” she says. “He never exaggerated a diamond grade or overcharged a client. He has passed his business ethics on to me and our team to ensure Frank Adams Jewelers could still be in business after 100 years.”

His biggest career challenge was also family related. Frank Adams, his father and the store founder, died in 1981 when David was 42. David’s brother immediately “retired,” and David was left alone to run the family business. “I went from having both my father and brother by my side to working alone,” he recalls. “I had to buy out my three siblings’ share of the business and learn to navigate the business as the sole proprietor. I had a lot of self-confidence to make it work, and I worked every hour of every day.”

The Albany, NY, store began as a small watch repair business in 1922 with founder Frank Adams at the helm. Today, Frank’s son, David; his granddaughter, Kimberly; and his great-grandson, Jeffrey Adams Russell, operate the store and manage a team of 20.


David started working in the store after high school, cleaning and assembling boxes. He studied diamond grading at the GIA, spent time in the Coast Guard, got a college degree at Siena College and joined the family business full time at age 22.

Although David originally wanted to be a dentist, he came to enjoy the customer interaction and being a special part of the community. “I liked the diamond and colored stone business most. The science and the technical features always challenged me.”

When not working, he’s always loved the peacefulness of boating in The Adirondacks, reading history books, and of course, food and wine, he says. As the company turns 100 this year, David hopes to be around long enough to see his grandson, Jeffrey Russell, achieve great success in the family business.



When There’s No Succession Plan, Call Wilkerson

Bob Wesley, owner of Robert C. Wesley Jewelers in Scottsdale, Ariz., was a third-generation jeweler. When it was time to enjoy life on the other side of the counter, he weighed his options. His lease was nearing renewal time and with no succession plan, he decided it was time to call Wilkerson. There was plenty of inventory to sell and at first, says Wesley, he thought he might try to manage a sale himself. But he’s glad he didn’t. “There’s no way I could have done this as well as Wilkerson,” he says. Wilkerson took responsibility for the entire event, with every detail — from advertising to accounting — done, dusted and managed by the Wilkerson team. “It’s the complete package,” he says of the Wilkerson method of helping jewelers to easily go on to the next phase of their lives. “There’s no way any retailer can duplicate what they’ve done.”

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