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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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(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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As David Kiselstein, owner of J. Albert Johnson Jewelers in Fairfield, CT says, it was a perfect time to close the store he’d owned for 45 years. “I’m 72-years old, the lease came due and I thought it would be a great time to retire.” A savvy businessman and one of the founders of the Continental Buying Group, Kiselstein urges others who want to conduct a retirement sale to pick up the phone and call Rick Hayes at Wilkerson. “He’ll talk you through it. He’ll help you understand it. He’ll give you the confidence you need to go through such a big experience.”

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Jewelers Mutual named to 2019 Ward’s 50

The award recognizes outstanding financial results in the areas of safety, consistency, and performance over a five-year period from 2014-18.

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(PRESS RELEASE) NEENAH, WI – Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company has been named to the 2019 list of Ward’s 50 top performing insurance companies, marking the ninth consecutive year for this recognition. The award recognizes outstanding financial results in the areas of safety, consistency, and performance over a five-year period from 2014-18.

“Our team at Jewelers Mutual continues to look for ways to strengthen and evolve our business,” said Scott Murphy, Jewelers Mutual president and CEO. “Being among those recognized to Ward’s 50 for another year is an honor.”

The list of Ward’s 50 top performing insurance companies was released on July 17 by Ward Group, an Aon Hewitt company and the leading provider of operational and compensation benchmarking and best practices services for insurance companies.

To develop its annual list of the top 50 performing insurance companies, Ward Group analyzes the financial performance of nearly 3,000 property-casualty insurance companies and 800 life-health insurance companies domiciled in the United States and identifies the top performers in each segment based on objective data and subjective quality measures. Each company has passed all safety and consistency screens and achieved superior performance over the five years analyzed.

A complete list of the 2019 Ward’s 50 companies for property-casualty is located at WardInc.com.

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Industry Executives Convene for GIA’s Global Leadership Program at Harvard Business School

It was held June 24 to 27.

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(PRESS RELEASE) CARLSBAD, CA – GIA’s Global Leadership Program at Harvard Business School (HBS), held June 24 to 27, brought together senior gem and jewelry executives for a custom four-day curriculum led by world class professors and based on the renowned HBS case study method. This year’s class, the largest in the six-year history of the program, explored exciting case studies focused on innovation and discussed how to apply the lessons from those cases to the challenges facing the global gem and jewelry industry. The exceptional group of leaders represented the broad scope and diversity of the industry.

“This unique program creates an opportunity for thought-leaders to candidly discuss new ideas and approaches to their day-to-day work and long-term goals,” said Susan Jacques, GIA president and CEO. “This program, now in its sixth year, is a direct extension of our renowned education heritage.”

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The GIA Global Leadership Program focuses on new research and best practices to deliver actionable insights. Upon successful completion of the program, participants were awarded a certificate from the Harvard Business School.

GIA, in conjunction with HBS, initiated the program in 2014. The goal of the four-day residential program is to bring together global leaders from different sectors of the gem and jewelry industry to examine issues faced by international businesses, and apply the lessons learned in other industries to their own businesses. The program also provides an unparalleled networking opportunity for senior executives, building bridges between different sectors of the global gem and jewelry supply chain.

GIA will hold its next Global Leadership Program at Harvard from June 22-25, 2020. Participation is limited and by invitation only.

For press inquiries, please contact Nellie Barnett at nbarnett@gia.edu or +1 760-603-4184.

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Frederick Goldman’s Jewelry Solutions Group Taps Two Industry Professionals

They bring extensive experience to the company.

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John Badee and Donna DeLucia

(PRESS RELEASE) SECAUCUS, NJ – Frederick Goldman’s recently formed Jewelry Solutions Group has added Donna DeLucia, as senior director of technical sales, and John Badee as director of manufacturing and engineering.

Donna DeLucia, formerly of John C. Nordt and LeachGarner, brings extensive product knowledge and an ability to forge deep customer relationships for Frederick Goldman, Inc.

John Badee, formerly general manager at Riva Precision, a well-regarded high-end manufacturer of cast and machined products, will strengthen Goldman’s manufacturing capabilities as it continues to grow its On Demand and OEM business through the Jewelry Solutions Group.

“We are extremely fortunate to retain John and Donna as we expand our On Demand and OEM customer base and product offering,” commented Jonathan Goldman, chairman and CEO of Frederick Goldman, Inc. “This is a fast-growing segment of our business that has been universally, and enthusiastically, accepted by our customers. Quick-make, inventory light, high-quality, and on demand products satisfies the needs of all retailers today. We look forward to great things from Donna and John as the Jewelry Solutions Group scales under the leadership of our COO, John Orrico.”

For inquiries about the Jewelry Solutions Group, please email JSG@FGoldman.com.

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