Retailer Spotlight: Dell Williams Jewelers
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Since 1927, Dell Williams Jewelers has been serving the community of downtown Santa Cruz, California. This past November commemorates their 90th anniversary, and having withstood the Great Depression, the flood of 1955, the earthquake of 1989, and the wavering economy, they have a lot to be proud of and celebrate!
Stan Williams (deceased 2013), son of Dell Williams, joined the American Gem Society (AGS) in 1962, and became a Registered Jeweler. Cindy Williams Bernard, current owner and granddaughter to, is a Certified Gemologist, and Emily Bernard Coonerty, current CEO/owner and great granddaughter to Dell, is a Certified Sales Associate. Emily recently took over the ownership of the business (along with her mother, Cindy) in September 2017 and is looking to become a Registered Jeweler in 2018.
Both Emily and Cindy took some time to tell us a little more about their Dell Williams Jewelers’ 90-year legacy and their relationship with the AGS.
Having been in business for 90 years, we are certain you have some great stories to share. Is there one particular story that you like to tell your customers?
There are so many customers who come in and tell us about how their grandparents bought their wedding rings from us, and their parents bought their rings from us, so they made sure they came in to shop with us. The generational connection and commitment to tradition is something truly unique and touching. Santa Cruz is a small town but also growing rapidly.
We love the history and long-time friendships we have established over 90 years and continue to make new friends every day. Our tagline is “When Only The Finest Will Do.” We hope that translates not only to the merchandise we carry and the service we provide but ultimately with the connections we make.
Tell us about the many events your store hosts throughout the year.
We host a variety of designer trunk shows and pop-ups each year. In 2017, we featured Spark Creations, Lika Behar, Roberto Coin, JB Star, and several more well-known designers. We also open up our doors to our community for special events that might be taking place.
This year, we participated in our Downtown Wine Walk (in both May and November) which pairs a local winery with a retail location for one afternoon. In September, we were one of the stops on a progressive dinner and mixer within the downtown business community. We had our new chief-of-police chat with attendees, and we informed our guests about our 90th year in business and told them a little bit of our history in Downtown Santa Cruz.
In November, we hosted a big 90th birthday party with hourly raffles of jewelry and gift items, a spectacular cake and special guest artists. It was really fun and successful. Our customers truly enjoy coming to our receptions and events; we try to keep the atmosphere festive and friendly, relaxed yet refined.
Mr & Mrs. Dell Williams,
You’ve been a member of the American Gem Society for over 50 years. How has being a member helped you and Dell Williams Jewelers?
Being a member of the AGS has consistently provided us with valuable knowledge and education tools, keeping us informed and up-to-date with changes and ways to deal with the challenges within the jewelry industry for over many years. AGS membership connects us to other stores and suppliers who we know we can trust and have similar values.
Dell Williams Jewelers is very committed to educating our customers and supporting consumer awareness of fair pricing and an overall ethical sales approach. We try to communicate that regularly through marketing (print) and in our day-to-day operations.
What advice do you have for new members of the AGS?
We appreciate the high standards that the AGS has set and what the AGS demands of its members. You should be very proud of your AGS membership. As a member, you have proven that you are committed to a level of transparency and a quality of customer experience that is really special. Make sure your customers understand this commitment to their protection and education... It is something that they can't find at most other stores/places.
What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?
Everything is not always going to be perfect or easy, but when times are tough, don't let it get you down. There will be highs and lows. During the challenging times is when we all really learn and grow and evolve. And BELIEVE in your customers and your community. If you are treating them well and provide a positive, warm, and welcoming place, even just to say hello, it will come back to you.
Click below to see some images of Dell Williams Jewelers then and now.