A golden ringed band with a sparkling 4-carat diamond, among other jewelry, is what brings customers through the doors of Caldwell Jewelers today, but for owner Monica Caldwell, 48, a ring symbolizing marriage is what brought her to the store about 25 years ago.
“I married her (B.J. Caldwell) son at age 19 and she asked me to come work for her six months later,” said Monica. “I worked for about four years then got my gemologist degree, all my correspondence, residency and then got my masters.”
Caldwell Jewelers opened in 1979 by B.J. Caldwell. Since opening, the store has offered a plethora of styles and designs from sterling silver to 4-carat diamond jewelry, says Monica. The store also makes and helps customers who want customized jewelry.
“Buying jewelry is always a happy occasion so I get to work with really happy people, work with design and get to know people that way,” said Monica, who says customer service is her favorite part of the job.
In 2001 Monica took over the business after B.J. made it known that she wanted to retire. Even with years of working at the store, Monica soon realized how challenging it was to own her own business.
“In hindsight, it was not the best time financially and economically-wise, but I love what I do and so it was kind of a no brainer,” said Monica. “The hardest part was trying to figure out the most economic way to run a business and make money.”
On top of the economic decline, the increasing usage of the Internet also hit retail businesses, such as Caldwell Jewelers, hard. But, despite the challenges, Monica rose above them as the store continues to retain steady business.
Being able to be an owner of her own business and have such success has opened Monica’s eyes and made her appreciative for the opportunities she has as a woman.
“Historically it’s been a male-oriented field and men were the ones who owned the businesses. When I came into the business and even when B.J. came into the business in the 60s it was ‘Oh she’s a cute little girl and a pat on the head she doesn’t know anything’,” said Monica. “Now it’s changed. Men and women are seen more equally, which is a good change.”