Inside Business: A Gem for Christmas | VideoJim Christianson | 12/11/2012
"We get here at 5:00 in the morning and we`re working until nine, ten o`clock in the evening the last 30 days before Christmas," he said.
On a frosty morning, the long-time owner of Westley`s Jewelry is already sitting in his workshop repairing and creating a few handcrafted gift items. And he`s upbeat about the recent taste of wintery weather.
"We need to have a little bit of snow just to put people in the right spirit. And to get them thinking about Christmas. And even a little bit of cold is not a bad thing. If the weather`s too pleasant, people procrastinate and they wait until the last minute."
In 75 years, Kiemele says Westley`s has expanded their fine jewelry selection. But he still takes time to work on old fashioned things like pocket watches and wristwatches and custom jewelry creations.
"At one time, we had three watchmakers in the store. So we`ve always been doing watches and clocks. Now the focus in the last 20 years is definitely jewelry."
Now that he has more company downtown thanks to new retail stores, bars and restaurants, Kiemele says that`s translated into more foot traffic in his corner shop. And he hears the same positive feedback from his competitors, such as Walkers n` Daughters, Knowles Jewelry and Kokkelers, all long-time downtown jewelry stores.
"I think what it did is it made people come downtown and just become aware of guys like me and businesses like us."
Still, Kiemele admits the clock is ticking until Christmas, leaving him less than two weeks to finish all of his orders on time, which means more late hours at his work bench.
Kiemele says Christmas is the busiest time of the year for sales. The next big rush happens in the spring, when more people are shopping for engagement rings.