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Star Power

Dramatic design fulfills owner’s dream of creating a distinctive, stylish space.



Craig Husar, Brookfield, WI

ARCHITECTS: Jeff Stowe, Sto Architecture, LLC; FOUNDED: 1968; Opened featured location: 2019; AREA: 4,500 square-foot showroom; 7,500 square feet total; DESIGNER: Craig Husar; TOP WATCH BRANDS: ORIS, Seiko Prospex & Presage Luxe, Frederique Constant, Shinola, pre-owned Rolex; ONLINE PRESENCE: 4.9 star average for 556 Google reviews; 3,600 Facebook followers

Craig Husar

Craig Husar

WHEN IT CAME time to build his destination store, Craig Husar tried to clear his mind of the many other jewelry stores he’d seen, even those he admired, to concentrate on his own vision.

He wanted his store to stand alone, not only geographically, as a destination, but also in its singular design.

Husar, a second-generation jeweler, designed the 4,500 square foot showroom himself, influenced by studying both feng shui and consumer behavior. “Feng shui is about energy and movement,” Husar says. “We don’t have a bad retail spot or a dead corner.”

With the help of an architect who was a lifelong friend, Husar dreamed up a 35-foot tower that he describes as the store’s exclamation mark. The tower houses the Star of Husar, a 15-foot sculpture adorned with 2,618 Swarovski crystals suspended from 480 steel wires. There is no electric illumination within the Star, so its brightness depends entirely on weather conditions.


When the sunlight hits the crystals, the hanging fixture glows like a fireball, sparking a retail experience shoppers and passersby won’t soon forget. At the base of the tower is the EngageBar, where the glass walls show diamonds in their best light. Details are symbolic and intentional. Custom built cases on the main islands, the location for Husar’s Masterpiece Collection, form the infinity symbol. Curves in the design create a floor plan with a natural flow.

Husar chose natural materials where possible. Flooring is travertine; counters are marble. The color scheme was inspired by Italian streetscapes. Walls are painted in a shade called tanglewood, a mixture of gray and tan with hints of green. Cases range from lighter blond colors to natural tones and help create distinct departments throughout the store.

Looking back, he wouldn’t do anything different. “I really enjoy the natural light, the openness and airiness of the space. I wanted it to be upscale but not threatening in any way. A casual luxury experience.”


Husar Tic-Tok shop

The 2019 opening of the store coincided with the 50th anniversary of the family business, which began when Craig’s parents, Lyle and Alice Husar founded the 400-square-foot Tic-Tok Shop to sell and repair watches. From there, the couple moved the business to a strip mall location, where it remained for decades.

When Craig bought out his parents in 2012, he began anticipating the next move. “We’d been in a strip mall and were having a very difficult time being able to express the personality of the store in that setting,” he says. “So, in building the new store I added all the elements I was unable to add at the strip mall. There is a tremendous amount of glass to let in natural light. We are so aware of our environment now. It lifts your heart, lifts your spirits when you soak up sunshine. It elevates the mood when people are shopping.”

When Husar considered inventory for the larger space, he knew he wanted to bring back the Tic-Tok Shop, a name the family hadn’t used in 30 years, in recognition of his parents and the store’s history. He introduced watch brands including Frederique Constant, Zodiac and Seiko. “Seiko has been exciting because we were a Seiko dealer in the 1970s. My father always laughs when I introduce something “new” and he says, “I did that already. Don’t you remember?”

The shop’s original 1968 Tic-Tok Shop signage is displayed with pride on the wall.

Although Husar grew up crawling around on the floor of his parents’ store, it wasn’t always a given that he’d take over the business.

He developed an interest in colored stones and in 1991 decided to study gemology at the GIA in California. But the classes, especially in colored stones, didn’t always live up to his expectations. “I thought there were more exciting ways to teach these programs.”

Richard Liddicoat, GIA president, responded by inviting him to become an instructor, if he thought he could do it better. Craig turned him down three times (“Public speaking? I’d rather die”) before finally agreeing to try. It changed his life, he says. “That became one of the most exciting things for me, presenting and sharing my passion about gems and diamonds and their history and allure.”

When Mel Fisher sent the GIA lab a 90-carat gemstone to confirm as an emerald, Husar was intrigued and asked the treasure hunter if he’d like to have a gemologist on staff in Key West, FL. Fisher agreed, which led to a five-year adventure for Husar, who became the exhibition director for the Treasures of the Atocha. The Nuestra Senora de Atocha was sailing from the New World to Spain in 1622 when it sank in a hurricane. The ship, which had contained 40 tons of gold and silver and some 70 pounds of emeralds, was discovered by Fisher off the Florida Keys in 1985.

Husar did all the training for the stores that hosted the exhibition and made TV and other media appearances. “That was the ultimate opportunity to become comfortable speaking in front of people,” he says. “Some of the crowds were enormous.”


Lyle Husar

He visited 85 stores, spent time with the owners and got to know how they ran their businesses. “It was like a four-year degree in how to run a jewelry business.” Mentors he met along the way made him realize that all of the exciting things he loved about the industry could come together in his family business, to which he did return, albeit much later than expected. “The GIA gemologist program is six months and I wound up being away for seven years, so my father likes to say I was a slow learner,” Husar says.

Today, Husar works with his sister, Christine Husar-Anderson, vice-president and operations manager, whom he describes as the glue that holds it all together.

Husar had learned that being known as the diamond expert in any market is critical. He became the face of the business and connected his image with that of a diamond. In images on billboards, buses and in print, Husar holds a diamond-shaped Swarovski crystal paperweight. To coincide with the store opening, Husar gave away one 5-carat diamond in a promotion that generated 6,000 entries.

Husar also promotes his role as chief romance officer, a title born in 2010 during a jewelry show in Italy, to which he’d been invited by the Italian Trade Commission. Only three U.S. jewelers made it, due to a volcano in Iceland affecting air travel. “They had this enormous press conference set up and there were only three of us. The heads of the trade commission and the mayor introduced themselves with fancy titles and I realized I needed something with more pizazz than Jewelry Store Owner from Brookfield, WI,” so I introduced myself as chief romance officer of the U.S. When I walked into the show my photograph was on the front page of the paper, saying the chief romance officer was attending the show.” He had the title added to his business card. “It’s become a pretty hilarious ice breaker at parties.”


Five Cool Things About Craig Husar

1. NO. 1 RECOMMENDED JEWELER. With over 500 five-star reviews on Google, Craig Husar lays claim to the title of Milwaukee’s No. 1 Recommended Jeweler. Consumers interact with fresh daily content on Instagram (1,100 followers), and Facebook (3,600 likes). The website, features more than 3,000 shoppable products, and consumers shop directly from Facebook and Instagram.

2. ENGAGING EXPERIENCE. Often, a young woman about to be engaged will visit the store with an entourage of friends and it turns into a party as she explores thousands of the prototype rings on display at the EngageBar. “Initially, they are afraid to touch, but when they realize they can try them on, they start piling the rings on,” Husar says.

3. MEMORABLE ATTIRE. Founder Lyle Husar is known for wearing the traditional attire of Swiss watchmakers, which happened to be lederhosen (leather shorts with suspenders). “We always worked it into our ads and got a lot of good laughs out of that, but people remembered us,” Lyle says. Craig framed the last pair of lederhosen his father wore and hung them up in the new store. “I’d often hear ‘Nice legs, Mr. Husar’ from little old ladies when I worked,” says Craig, who has adopted his own signature albeit low-key look, a blue vest and blue jeans.

4. UPBEAT ATTITUDE. “We begin every meeting with an attitude of gratitude,” Husar says. “Each person shares something they are grateful for that happened that day or week. It’s an instant attitude adjustment. I constantly ask myself, ‘What difference have I made today to my clients, my staff, my family?’ That’s how we start our meetings.”

5. THE LEARNING CURVE. The Trusted Jeweler Apprentice program was developed to provide real life work experience to local high school students. “I always try to have someone in their teenage years in an apprenticeship role,” Husar says. “Sometimes family, sometimes other individuals, sometimes friends’ children. We expose them to the work environment and teach them the experience of being in retail. For six or seven years, we have had a high school student on staff on weekends.”


  • marc adwar:To stand out these days, I believe it’s critical for retailers to develop their own private label brands.
  • mitchell clark:The Star of Husar has that cool factor to bring in new customers. And, who wouldn’t want to buy jewelry from a real-life treasure hunter? The only thing that could make this store cooler? Craig in lederhosen.
  • lyn falk: Impressive Star of Husar! The story has personality.
  • bruce freshley:In a sea of cookie cutter jewelers, Craig has created a truly original jewelry shopping experience, based on a life growing up in the business. One rule I have in store design is achieving obtrusive visibility to passing consumers. If you drove by a place, would you remember it visually? His Husar halo tower and Star of Husar Swarovski chandelier create exactly that kind of visual impact. They are both commanding and elegant. Craig Husar had the chance to do everything his way and he’s done so flawlessly!
  • jacqueline johnson:Craig’s journey is incredible. His early years as a gemologist, the 90-carat Colombian emerald, and diving expeditions are what made me want to learn more about Craig Husar. You must have a story to draw in consumers. Craig’s story is truly unique.


Try This: Be unpredictable with your marketing.

“I pay extra to have my head stick out above my billboards,” says Craig Husar. “People comment on it all the time because it’s memorable. Don’t be afraid to stand out.”



This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

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