(HOT SPRINGS, Ark.) - In a move to enhance their long-standing legacies, two revered Arkansas jewelry families have announced a new ownership agreement. Lauray’s the Diamond Center of Hot Springs, family-owned since 1924, will be acquired by Murphy-Pitard Jewelers of El Dorado, in business since 1939. This “marriage” of jewelry tradition is motivated by the strong commitment of both owners to continually improve customer service and to remain an integral part of their respective communities.
The merger is the brain child of Mark Fleischner, owner of Lauray’s, and Toddy Pitard, owner of Murphy-Pitard Jewelers. Introduced by a mutual friend, the two owners quickly bonded, realizing that they share a common passion for their businesses, a mutual sense of pride in being part of the history of their home towns, and a commitment to family owned business.
As Mark began to contemplate retirement in the coming years, he knew that Toddy was the man to partner with to continue his legacy. Mark stated: “We wouldn’t tie our name and share our business with just anyone. Our family has worked for three generations in serving the people of Hot Springs, so we have a lot to protect. With Toddy and Amanda, though, it just feels like family. We are excited for them to be a part of ours and to become a part of theirs.”
Both stores share similar roots and values. For the owners, Mark and Patti of Lauray’s, and Toddy and Amanda of Murphy-Pitard, the new ownership makes a lot of sense. Together, the two businesses provide over 170 years of jewelry experience. With Toddy being a master bench jeweler and Amanda being a graduate gemologist, the Pitards bring heavy credentials to the table. In addition, Murphy-Pitard boasts two certified in-house watchmakers who will now be able to service the watches of our Lauray’s customers in a local setting.
The patrons of both stores will still see their respective owners in-store for daily operations. “It’s a real blessing to play a part in bringing these two communities together. Many of our customers have vacation residences in Hot Springs or have retired to Hot Springs Village. We are thankful to be able to join them where they are and build new relationships with the Hot Springs locals,” said Toddy.
The merger will enhance opportunities for both stores to grow by sharing talents and resources in non-competitive markets. According to Toddy: “By uniting our store managements and leveraging our brand and industry relationships, we will achieve stronger buying power for more brand opportunities with lower ticket prices. There’s certainly strength in numbers, and we couldn’t be more excited about this partnership.”