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Jewelry Store Opened for More Than a Century Is Closing

It leaves with a 102-year legacy.

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Jewelry Store Opened for More Than a Century Is Closing

(PRESS RELEASE) HOWELL, MI – Tom Cunningham’s first job in the jewelry business was as a teenager helping with engravings in his stepfather’s store in nearby Hudson, Michigan. That inspired a lifelong career as a jeweler.

However, at that time he didn’t realize he would eventually own Yax Jewelers with deep roots in Howell, Michigan.

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“There was never any consideration of doing anything else,” laughs Cunningham, who is now ready to retire and end a retail legacy of more than a century.

On Feb. 8, 2019, Yax Jewelers began its huge closing sale that ends a 102 year legacy in Howell. Expect to find deep discounts on a wide range of upscale, fine jewelry in all styles – sterling silver to multi-carat diamond jewelry in all prices ranges.

Cunningham and his stepfather Charles Blanks (who previously owned H.C. Blanks Jewelers in Hudson) purchased Yax Jewelers in 1973 with Cunningham at the helm. Yax Jewelers was already a mainstay in Howell, having opened in 1917.

Cunningham and Blanks purchased the building and moved the store to its current location at the corner of Michigan and Grand River Avenue in 1979, which served as McPherson State Bank from the beginning of the century to 1960.

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What has made Yax Jewelers different from other big retailers is the exceptional craftsmanship, trust, and integrity. Unique pieces you won’t find anywhere else using a variety of gemstones. Also, all repair work is done in-house, it’s not sent out. “That’s always been a significant point for our customers,” said Cunningham.

During the sale, customers can also expect to find a friendly and dedicated staff focused on helping them find the right purchase at a variety of prices. “We can usually answer questions before the customers even ask them and we never pressure any customer to make a purchase,” said Cunningham who attributes his store’s customer service and knowledge of jewelry as a key component of the store’s long success.

When Cunningham reflects on 40-plus years in the community he realizes it’s “gone by in a flash,” said Cunningham who finds multiple generations of customers shopping with him.

“Grandparents bought their wedding bands from us and now the grandchildren are coming in for engagement rings,” said Cunningham, himself a grandfather to several grandchildren scattered across the country.

He continued, “The store has been here forever – 102 years – people who find out my retirement and the store closing say congratulations and good luck.”

One thing Cunningham is looking forward in retirement is golf this spring and breaking in a camping trailer he bought last year for family excursions to visit all those grandchildren all over the country.

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When Sales Beat Projections, You Know Wilkerson Did Its Job

There are no crystal balls when it comes to sales projections. But when Thomasville, Georgia jeweler Fran Lewis chose Wilkerson to run the retirement/going-out-of-business sale for Lewis Jewelers and More, she was pleasantly surprised to learn that even Wilkerson could one-up its own sales numbers. “Not only did we meet our goal, but we exceeded the goal that Wilkerson had given us by about 134%,” she says. After more than 40 years in the business, Lewis says she decided a few years ago to “move towards retirement.” And she was impressed by Wilkerson’s tenure in the industry. Overall, she’d recommend the company to anyone else who may be thinking it’s time to hang up their loupe. “As a full package, they’ve done a very good job and I’d definitely recommend Wilkerson.”

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