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Siegel Jewelers was founded in 1889 by Joseph Siegel...

Siegel Jewelers was founded in downtown Grand Rapids in 1889 by Joseph Siegel. Joseph came to America in 1881 by himself at the age of 17.  With the advent of the railroads, Joseph’s skill as a superior watchmaker became invaluable to passengers needing an accurate time piece to ensure that they did not miss their train. Siegel Jewelers soon added jewelry, diamond, and eye glasses to their shop and many of Grand Rapids most prominent citizens became loyal customers. Reflective of Joseph’s success was the purchase of a summer home on Lake Michigan which he enjoyed with his wife Ethel and their 3 children.

Shortly after WW1, Joseph's two sons, Norton and Arthur, joined him in business. They also became active in various Grand Rapids service organizations. Siegel Jewelers’ smart business practices enabled the business to survive the depression when most jewelry stores failed.  An interesting anecdote is that in 1936 Arthur (who was an officer in the Amateur Boxing Association), went to New York to petition the United States Olympic Committee to boycott the Olympic Games in Nazi Germany.

Miller Siegel, Norton’s son, joined his father, uncle, and grandfather in the business after WW11. Miller came to Siegel Jewelers with a business degree from the University of Michigan and the newly titled gemologist degree.

Siegel Jewelers took note of the growing national trend of suburban shopping and opened a second store. Along with other local merchants, Siegel Jewelers opened at the new Woodland Mall Shopping Center in 1968. The decision turned out to be the right one.  Explosive growth and expanded space at Siegel’s center court location propelled the store to dominance in the Grand Rapids market to become one of the largest independent mall jewelry stores in the nation.  Leslie Siegel, Miller’s wife, managed the silver, crystal, china and gift departments that were a part of the nation’s premier jewelry stores in every community.

By the turn of the 21st century, the landscape for jewelry stores and retail stores of all kinds had changed. No longer were strong local merchants part of the collection....Read more