It was a beautiful spring morning when I stopped by to see Peggy Williams and Tod Ross at Petersen Jewelers. Located in the Meadowbrook Shopping Center for the past 20 years, this shop has been more than retail. Comfortable wingback chairs, ample cups of coffee and friendly conversation have welcomed customers not just to browse but to stop by for a visit.
The ambiance is wonderful when you walk through the doors – smiling faces, glistening showcases, colorful, one-of-a-kind designer pieces are mixed in with traditional selections of gold, silver and pearls. Itâ??s a feast for the eyes and a boost to your soul just to come in and be tantalized and tempted at what could enhance your spirit and define the gem in all of us. I never tire of pretty things and there are many such items in this store. Makes you smile.
For Peggy and Tod, the closing of this place that they have called their work homes for years is, naturally, bittersweet. In addition to their loyal customers, the total of five employees are like family.
Chris Petersen made the right decision when he decided to open the store in 1976. Culpeper was ripe for a jewelry store and Petersen Jewelers became the â??go toâ?? place when it came to picking out that engagement ring, special anniversary gift or pair of earrings for a graduate. For nearly 40 years, it has built a reputation for fine jewelry, unique designs and guaranteed repairs.
But, perhaps its commitment to customer service, is its highest attribute. The folks here are not only retailers, they are neighbors and friends. The store has anchored itself not only as a place to make a purchase, but also as a place of confidence and trust. Truly a gem.
Peggy is a remarkable lady. She has a degree in developmental psychology. She also loves to quilt and would like to write a book about the â??artist within us all.â??
Her entrance into the store proper was as a volunteer while she was staying home with her children. That morphed over the years until Chris retired in 2011 and she took over running the business. Peggyâ??s optimism and strong character have enabled her to weather some tough times but remaining positive and infusing good energy into others are her trademarks. Peggyâ??s an inspiration.
You may not know that Peggy actually met him when she was teaching a class in canoeing at Germanna Community College. A graduate of Culpeper County High School, Tod was at Germanna getting his associates degree in business. Prior to that, heâ??d already attended the Holland School for Jewelers in Alabama.
Todâ??s father was a jeweler so the gem genes run in his veins. Heâ??s a bench jeweler as well as the sales manager at Petersen. Over the years, heâ??s garnered numerous certifications. His dream? Heâ??d eventually like to be a world diamond importer and specialize in designing bridal pieces.
Speaking of which, it came as no surprise for me to learn in our conversation that customized bridal rings have been in vogue for some time.
While traditional bands will always be available, the trend now is for that couple to have their rings uniquely designed. Petersen has been well equipped to do that. Theyâ??ve got a software program that would rival any video game. You can sit calmly with Tod while he moves the mouse deftly creating in front of your eyes what will be your one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry. The process is collaborative and the results dazzling.
Now this comment is specifically targeted to all of us women out there. There is no shame in celebrating ourselves. As such, more and more women are purchasing those investment pieces for themselves. Not that we would turn away from a gentleman bestowing one upon us but no reason to wait.
Peggy has brought in a company to handle the sale of Petersen Jewelers. Over the next weeks, as the liquidation begins, there will be bargains for sure. Itâ??s a sad time to think that this establishment will end.
But, Peggy and Tod are not focused on the end. They are focused on new beginnings and as they look to their own paths and where that will lead, utmost in their minds and hearts is the keen appreciation they have for the community that has supported them over the years. Both of them told me how very much they value the folks that have consistently walked through the doors and then years later their children doing the same.
At this point, they will continue doing repair work until June 1. During the summer, weâ??re likely to see the doors close for the last time.
While Peggy has her sights set on new adventures, Tod does not see himself out of the jewelry business. Heâ??s got too much invested. Besides heâ??s a wealth of knowledge when it comes to gems and what really makes them sparkle. Tod has jewelry business savvy with a heart. He enjoys making his customers truly happy. Iâ??m no fortune teller but it could be that the crystal ball contains a future with Tod and jewelry in it. That would be another cause for celebration.
Right now, they arenâ??t focused on the closing, they are focused on saying â??thank youâ?? to a community who has loved them as much as they have loved their customers.
Anita L. Sherman is the editor of the Culpeper Times. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org