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Commentary: The Business

Michael Nedler: Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen

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The Business: Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen

BY MICHAEL NEDLER

Published in the July 2013 issue

One of my favorite programs was M*A*S*H, hence some of you (over the age of 40) might recognize the headline above. It was the name of the final episode that aired in February 1983. Why would I choose such a title column? Sadly, because my store, Sonny’s Diamonds & Jewelry, also known as Sonny’s Rocks, is in the process of its final episode: A going-out-of-business sale. Yes, after 34 years of operating in Denver, we’re going away.

I can pretty much hear what you’re thinking: “Ouch,” “Bummer,” “Too bad,” or “Better him than me.” All valid thoughts, and I know what these thoughts are because they’re much the same thoughts I had when I heard about other stores in the same boat.

Why, you wonder, would I want to write about this? Because this story isn’t about the reasons my business collapsed. In much the same way the last episode of M*A*S*H focused on the effects the war had on each member of the unit, this column is about the effects the jewelry industry has had on me.

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One of the nuggets of wisdom I’ve heard many times is that “a job is what you do, not who you are.” I’m here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. Being a jeweler is as much a part of my identity as my being male, or Jewish, or the son of Sonny Nedler, my dad. I’ve lived and breathed this industry for almost 40 years. I am, and always will be, a jeweler.

At the age of 60, I now have a choice of retiring or doing something else. Yes, it’s both scary and exciting … a new adventure. As I look back on my years as a jeweler, I realize how much the industry has done to shape my life, and I want to acknowledge it.

I can’t think of any other business as relationship-based as ours. Countless millions of dollars trade on a handshake — our word and our reputation are everything. This way of thinking was ingrained into me from the beginning by the best teacher I could have had, my dad, Sonny. I’ve strived to live up to those standards my entire career, and for the most part, I believe I have. The years I’ve had in this industry has been an amazing education. The people and organizations I’ve been involved with have shaped my life in ways that would have never happened otherwise. I can never thank you enough.

Whatever I do next, I believe I am ready to tackle a new adventure. I’ll close with a quote from M*A*S*H’s Colonel Sherman T Potter… “Well, boys, it would be hard to call what we’ve been through fun, but I’m sure glad we went through it together.”

COMMENTARY BY MICHAEL NEDLER

Michael Nedler is the owner of Sonny’s Rocks in Denver, CO,
a 2011 Cool Store.

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Wilkerson Helped This Jeweler to Navigate His Retirement Sale Despite a Pandemic

Hosting a going-out-of-business sale when the coronavirus pandemic hit wasn’t a part of Bob Smith’s game plan for his retirement. Smith, the owner of E.M. Smith Jewelers in Chillicothe, Ohio, says the governor closed the state mid-way through. But Smith chose Wilkerson, and Wilkerson handled it like a champ, says Smith. And when it was time for the state to reopen, the sale continued like nothing had ever happened. “I’d recommend Wilkerson,” he says. “They do business the way we do business.”

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