(ERLANGER, Ky.) - Founded in 1947 by Earl Wesdorp in the attic of his Ludlow, KY detached garage, and now operated and managed by the third generation of the Wesdorp family, Jewel-Craft, Inc. celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. Currently headquartered in Erlanger, KY, Jewel-Craft is a full-service operation that provides comprehensive jewelry trade shop services to retail jewelry stores, designers, and other trade shops nationwide.
Earl learned the jewelry trade from his father, Charles Wesdorp, a master jeweler who retired from Litwin’s Jewelers, in Cincinnati. Earl’s son, Robert (Bob), recalls: “I joined the company in 1949 and took over in 1950 upon the sudden death of my father, Earl. This company has grown, not by luck or by someone being in the right place at the right time, but because of hard work and dedication to our craft. Dot and I, the 2 generations that have followed, and our incredible staff have made incredible efforts to make Jewel-Craft the company it is today.”
All stages of design, manufacturing, repair, and restoration are performed inside the company’s, soon-to-be, 50,000-square-foot facility. The company built their current location in 1990, expanded in 2005, and just broke ground on their 2nd major expansion that will increase their facility by another 20,000 square-feet! Today, the firm employs around 200 people, including designers, expert jewelers, setters, and finishers. Several of the employees have been with Jewel-Craft for decades.
Today, Gary Wesdorp, President and CFO, shares corporate leadership duties with his brother, Benet Wesdorp, President and COO. Three of Gary’s children, Benet’s sons, and Gary’s son-in-law are currently employed with the company, learning the business as their father and grandfather did, from the ground up.
“We are really proud of our history as a family-owned business,” agrees Gary. “Our parents worked extremely long, hard hours to build the foundation for the success and expansion of our company.” The “family business” tradition is not limited to direct family, however. Employees who are not members of the Wesdorp family appreciate the family atmosphere the company has created, so much so that many of them have recommended members of their own families for employment with Jewel-Craft. “Over the past 70 years, we have built a family atmosphere that has spread throughout the entire company. We are so happy that our employees feel that and encourage their own family to come join our team.”
To commemorate their 70th Anniversary, Jewel-Craft, Inc. is taking a unique approach to clienteling, by “Paying it Forward.” Rather than having a big party or a sale, they decided to take care of the customers who have brought them to this point. Throughout the year, they have been thanking their customers by giving random discounts, $0 invoices for work completed (such as sizing, CAD work, and shipping), and giving thank-you gifts.
To take the same excitement on the road to tradeshows, they’ve created a custom game, the Jeweler’s Bench Challenge, based on the classic board game “Operation!” Those who show their steady “Jeweler’s Hand,” and sometimes those who don’t, receive certificates for discounted or free work - on top of a lot of fun, buzzes, and bright red lights!
To some businesses, celebrating an anniversary means an after-hours party with some cake and fun. To Jewel-Craft, it is an entire of year of thanking those who helped them get to where they are, inventing a fun game to share a small part of their work-life, and expanding their entire operation. We can’t wait to see what Jewel-Craft has in store for them over the next 70 years!
For more information about Jewel-Craft, Inc. or the company’s 70 years of history, visit www.jewel-craft.com or call 859-282-2400 or 800-525-5482.