Longtime Napa Jewelry Store Owner Loves Making and Selling “Nice” Things | business – Low Calorie Diets Tips

KATHLEEN REYNOLDS

River Park Jewelers owner Lucia Shook has been in the jewelery retail business for 45 years.

“I started at Meyers Jewelry in Vallejo,” Shook said. “That’s where I met Bob Moelk and worked with him at his River Park Jewelers store in Napa in 1997.”

Moelk is very easy to work with, Shook said.

“When he said he was retiring I didn’t know what to do because most employers want to hire young people. I asked him if he would sell me the shop. He spoke to his wife Claudia and sold me the store and I have owned it since 2005.”

Shook decided not to change the homey nature of the store.

“People don’t like change,” she said. “It’s nothing special, but clean. We welcome everyone, sit down and talk to them. Without my regular customers I wouldn’t be here today. They are very kind and I am very grateful for everything they do.”

When she took over the business, she asked her sister, Maria Pacheco, to help her for a few months. Pacheco is still around, smiling and helping customers, 17 years later.

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“I love putting things together, like beautiful necklaces,” Shook said. “I draw the design on paper first and then have a person make it. I only sell designs I like.”

River Park Jewelers not only sells fine jewelry and costume jewelry, but also does many repairs.

“We don’t take anything that we don’t think we can fix,” she said.

“We do it for a fair price. An elderly gentleman was there the other day and he had broken the crown of his watch. The crown is on top of the stem where you wind your watch. For years he’d raised it in a back-and-forth motion rather than in one direction,” she described.

By the way, “I tell people all the time not to wind their watches like that,” she remarked.

This man’s watch was vintage, “and I knew we would never find a new crown to match the broken one. I was looking through a box of old watch parts at the last minute and was surprised to find exactly the same thing. I was so happy to help him.”

She didn’t charge anything for the service.

“I know most of the people who come here; They are all hard workers, like me. As long as I have enough to live on, I don’t need a lot of money.”

In terms of jewelry trends, Shook keeps up with the styles through their suppliers.

“For engagement rings, people always want an oval or princess cut. If I don’t have what you want in stock, I can get it. Diamond anniversary bands that run above or below the wedding ring are popular. Tennis bracelets are another popular gift.”

In recent years, lab grown diamonds have taken the business by storm. With prices for naturally mined diamonds increasing 11-fold in 2021, more consumers are finding lab-grown stones an acceptable alternative, according to Instore, a trade publication for the jewelry industry. Lab grown diamonds can be half the price of mined stones.

“Yes, we sell them,” Shook said. “You are very popular now. It is difficult to explain exactly how they are made, but these stones are tested as if they were mined diamonds. They look amazing and always have value.”

Any stone purchased from River Park Jewelers can be traded in.

“If someone buys a ring from me and decides on a different stone, I always give them the same amount as they paid.”

Does she have any advice for prospective grooms?

“Guys come in and give me a big price for what they want, but you can’t go back. I explain to them that they should know their budget and go from there; Start lower and go higher. I like working with younger people. Usually the couple comes together to choose the ring. Like I said, if she’s not happy with the style, I’ll exchange it.”

“Sometimes we teach them about the four Cs: cut, clarity, color and carat (size). As long as it’s nice and clear, you can get it or get bigger.”

Pendants are popular birthday gifts, as are earrings. Shook has advice there too.

“A long time ago I received advice that I pass on to others. If you’re giving someone a gift, let them unwrap it in front of you. Look at their face, not the gift, when they open it. Their facial expression will tell you if they like it. I’ve been fortunate that most people are happy with their gifts.”

Does she have a personal favorite piece of jewelry?

“I have an 18k cross that I wear. My favorites used to be rings, but I can’t wear them anymore,” she said, giggling. “My sister also loves rings and wears a lot of them.”

River Park Jewelers often have specials on major holidays; The most popular are Valentine’s Day and Christmas. Shook said she’d rather give a customer a discount and make some money off a piece than wait three months without selling it.

As with most businesses, COVID-19 has taken its toll on River Park Jewelers.

“I was closed for two and a half months. I worried, but I prayed and got a loan. I feel blessed and grateful and don’t take anything for granted. Above all, I believe in Jesus; he has never failed me.”

“I’m not a proud person, but I’m proud that I’m an honest person. You reap what you sow. I am happy about the trust of my customers.”

River Park Jewelers is open Tuesday through Saturday at 1433 W. Imola Ave., Napa, 707-254-7500, riverparkjewelers.com.

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