It’s a tearful time, but Rosalie Hudson still has a sparkle in her eye as she prepares to close her family’s jewelry store in Granite City.
After more than 60 years on Nameoki Road, but more than 70 years in total in Granite City, Hudson and her husband, Virgil, have decided to retire from the jewelry business. Their son, John Hudson, and his wife, Jane, will continue to run the family’s Edwardsville store near Deirberg’s at Edwardsville Crossing.
But it’s the end of an era in Granite City: The store will close sometime in June, the Hudsons say.
As more consumers shop online for jewelry, family-owned jewelers are slowly fading away. How have the Hudsons survived? They continue to count on their relationships with customers.
On a recent Thursday afternoon, Rosalie greeted customers as they entered in the store. She asked them about their children and grandchildren before bringing over a sales associate to help them. Even if they didn’t come to buy jewelry, Rosalie hugged customers Thursday as they chatted about the store’s long history.
“This location was the first strip center in the entire St. Louis area 63 years ago,” Rosalie Hudson said. “We were one of the first tenants.”
The jewelry store at Bellemore Village Shopping Center is getting rid of its inventory by offering deep discounts on everything from diamond bracelets and earrings to crystal and clocks. Made in Italy, they’re even selling their iconic showroom chandelier.
But more than that, the Hudsons are closing a chapter in their lives that began with Virgil Hudson’s father, Roy Hudson.
The family started with watch repairs. Virgil Hudson helped his father, then later branched out to the current Granite City location. Virgil’s son, John, grew up in the store his parents operated.
“I used to come straight from kindergarten to the Granite City showroom,” John Hudson said. “And then I would hop on my tricycle and ride around the showcase.”
Hudsons’ employees have fond memories, too.
Barb Burlison has worked at the family-owned jewelry store for nearly 30 years. The Hudsons helped her find love the second time around. The wedding ring she wears came from the store that will close in June.
“I love working here because we’re like family,” Burlison said. “It’s a bittersweet kind of thing. But we’re doing it for Rosalie and Vigil. They are great people to work for. We love them so much.”