Almost half a century later, Cal Jewelry still shines

cal-jewelers.jpgBy Nick Diamantides
Staff Writer

When a retired jeweler urges all of his customers to go to a store that used to be his competition, you have to stand up and take notice. That’s what has happened in Long Beach recently, when Star Jewelers closed their doors. The store’s former owner, Steve Hastings, is encouraging his patrons to go to Cal Jewelry, which is owned by Larry Shulman and Arthur Shor.
“Having developed so many friendships through our dedicated customers over the 43 years of serving the community of Long Beach, the decision to close the door of Star Jewelers was a difficult one,” Hastings said in a message to his clients through the Signal Tribune. “Many of us involved in this special industry share a wonderful common bond, and therefore, I would recommend that Star Jewelers’ valued customers explore the feeling of sameness that Cal Jewelry has built their reputation upon.”
Shulman and Shor have been jewelers for most of their adult lives, but the store they own has been around longer than that. Cal Jewelry first opened in 1958 as one of the departments of Cal Stores, which went out of business in 1979.
“Ed Besbeck, who was Cal Store’s jewelry manager, took over Cal Jewelers in 1979 and eventually moved the store to its present location,” Shulman said. “I subleased the back room from him and did jewelry work for him and other stores that didn’t have their own shops.”
In 1989, Shulman and Shor, who had known each other for a long time, purchased the business from Besbeck. For several years before that, Shor was a traveling jewelry salesman, a job that he described as “dangerous and exhausting.”
When the partners took over the store, it already had many loyal customers, but their number has increased steadily over the past 18 years.
“I think it’s because our customers know we give them honest, personalized service designed to meet their specific needs,” Shulman explained, noting that the store sells items reflecting the latest fashions in jewelry. “We carry Lladrow, Swarovski and crystal, among others,” he said.
“We repair jewelry and watches and make unique custom jewelry for our customers,” Shor added. He explained that the shop does minor watch repairs but subcontracts the more extensive work.
The partners also take the time to educate their customers. “We’re happy to answer any questions pertaining to jewelry, and if we don’t know the answer, we’ll do the research and find out,” Shulman said, noting that they each have about 40 years of expertise and don’t have to do much research.
“We especially take the time to educate men who come to buy an engagement ring but don’t know much about diamonds or jewelry,” Shor said. “We want to make sure it fits his budget and is something his bride-to-be will like.” He noted that process usually means involving her in the selection.
The partners both agreed that making custom jewelry was their favorite part of running the store, but they had an overriding philosophy for all the relationships they have with their clients. “We treat them with respect and always try to do the right thing for them,” Shor explained. “We don’t try to gouge our customers, and I think they all know that.”
The partners did not really know Hastings until he came to look over their store and find out how they operate the business. “After talking with Steve, I realized that his business philosophy and the way he took care of his customers is very similar to the way we operate our store,” Shulman said.
Hastings agreed. He recommends Cal Jewelry to his customers because “You’ll find quality merchandise, excellent on-site custom work and repairs, and that same friendly and professional atmosphere that you have come to expect and appreciate.”
Cal Jewelry is located at 6291 East Spring Street near the corner of Palo Verde. The store’s phone number is (562) 421-5030.

Business, Community

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