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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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George Koueiter & Sons Jewelers, a 65-year old jewelry institution in Grosse Pointe, MI, had always been a mainstay in this suburban Detroit community. But when owners George and Paul Koueiter were ready to retire, they made the decision to close rather than sell. “We decided our best option to do the liquidation sale was Wilkerson,” says Paul Koueiter. The results, says George Koueiter, exceeded expectations and the process was easy. “Wilkerson just kept us in mind,” says George. “They never did anything without asking and whatever they asked us to do was just spot on.”

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