Feature Friday – Bernard Jewelers
At 18 years old and right out of high school, Bernard Mecherkany began apprenticing for a jeweler in the Jewelers Building in Boston. He loved the work and decided to pursue it further.
In 1989, Bernard became acquainted with Tewksbury, Massachusetts, a large town just outside of Boston, through a friend. He recalls that although there were other jewelers in the town, no one offered on-site repairs and custom work. “I liked it here and decided to start a family and establish the Bernard Jewelers brand here,” he says. We recently moved to our third location in town, allowing us to expand our inventory further, give ourselves more room to perform intricate jewelry repairs and create spectacular custom designs for our customers.
Quality and customer service are the bread and butter of any great business. We pride ourselves on offering a great experience to all who enter our store. Though anyone can compete with price, we strive to ensure our customers are more than happy with our services — whether they’re buying, selling, or repairing jewelry. Maintaining relationships with them is paramount to Bernard Jewelers; without excellent customer service, a business cannot thrive.
In our store, there’s something for everyone — from costume jewelry to diamonds and gold, bridal to fashion and inexpensive silver jewelry. New software programs like CounterSketch® allow us to virtually create any piece of jewelry while customers watch. It presents a life-like picture, so visitors know exactly what they’ll get before their purchase. We also offer insurance appraisals with an excellent independent gemologist who has worked in the industry for many years.
Bernard takes as much pride in his quality workmanship as his wife, Suzan, takes in assisting customers to find just the right piece of jewelry to fit their needs and their pocketbook. This intricate weaving of teamwork and expertise has lead to great success. With Bernard, Suzan, and daughters Alex and Gabi onboard, we have a truly family-run business. Even our cats join us once a week; they enjoy coming almost as much as our customers love seeing them!
Using our state-of-the-art technology laser welder, we can repair just about anything, even eyeglasses! With repairs performed on-site, they remain an integral part of the business. Customers appreciate repairs done in-house, especially since Bernard himself performs them all. Thankfully, repair work is steady throughout the year. And as for technology, it’s changed our business for the better. In fact, from 1989 to 2016, Suzan performed all bookkeeping on paper. Her daughter Gabi finally convinced her to use the Edge® software for jewelers, which has been great for business!
The family’s daughters Alexandra, along with Gabrielle, both work full time in the store. In addition to other responsibilities, Alex came up with the idea of selling costume jewelry, so now she and Gabi run a special jewelry section in the store. Alex loves fashion and has a fashion blog on Instagram. Gabi, whose latest obsession is watching The Walking Dead, practices Brazilian jiu-jitsu. She enjoys working behind the computer, carrying out the store’s marketing, and photographing jewelry for the store.
Both girls plan to continue their education online with GIA and are the future owners of Bernard Jewelers. The girls’ first order of business once their parents retire: take off more days to go to the beach! Alex and Gabi both agree that creating special bonds is extremely important. “My favorite part of the business is the emotional connection we share with customers,” Alex says. “Like seeing someone cry tears of pure joy after we repair and refinish their late grandpa’s chain.”
Alex declares one of the main challenges of their business is overcoming the adage that the customer is always right. “Some customers are just difficult,” she says. “Some seem to come to us with a great entitlement, or crazy requests. But that’s all water off a duck’s back,” she assures!
Is your store an all family affair? Tell us about it in the comments below! And for another family business success story, read Sarah Bond’s Feature Friday post.