Peterson's Jewelers Celebrates 30 Years

Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Peterson Jewelers staff includes, from left, Ami Macumber, Carmen Krepcik, Karen Berry, and owner Terry Peterson

McCOOK, Nebraska - Although McCook is located many miles from America's population centers, Terry Peterson says jewelry customers in this area can choose from an excellent selection of diamonds and jewelry from around the world .

As he prepares to celebrate his 30th year as a jewelry store owner in McCook, Terry said the secrets of success for Peterson Jewelers have been the great customers, employees, and membership in national buying groups and regular refresher courses in jewelry repair and design.

"Throughout my time as a jewelry store owner, I have been an active member of the Retail Jewelers Organization (RJO) and Independent Jewelers Organization (IJO)," he said. By using the groups' combined purchasing power, individual stores, like Peterson Jewelers, avail themselves of prices comparable to large national jewelry chains.

And, in addition, to the combined buying power, Terry has gone a step further, traveling to the international diamond buying center in Antwerp, Belgium, on buying trips for his store. "It's important to keep up with what's happening in the industry," he said.

"I travel to up to four shows a year in the United States to select all types of jewelry and colored stones," he said. "Although I may select the jewelry, my knowledgeable staff, who are constantly watching the trends, select the styles that end up in the store," Terry said.

Showing the extent of the buying journeys, Peterson's most recent jewelry conventions have included trips to Boston, San Antonio, Tucson and Savannah.

Here at home, Peterson said the combination of quality, selection and reasonable pricing has resulted in a satisfying 30 years in the jewelry business.

The opportunity for Peterson arose late in 1983 when he spotted an advertisement in a jewelry magazine announcing that Schilz Jewelry in McCook was for sale. At the time, Terry was a jewelry benchman in North Platte on the staff of Tallmon Jewelers.

Negotiations continued over the next several months, with Terry purchasing the business from Bill Schilz and taking over ownership of the store at 222 West First Street on September 1, 1984.

Continuing the service and tradition established by Schilz, Peterson remained at the West First Street location for ten years, with Bill continuing to work part-time to do clock and watch repair.

The move to the current location - on the southwest corner of the Norris Avenue and B Street intersection - came 10 years later, in the summer of 1994. Following the move there, to McCook's busiest downtown intersection, the name of the jewelry store was changed to Peterson Jewelers and the firm's slogan became "Corner of Quality."

In the years since then, thanks to promotional campaigns, Terry and the store have gained many nicknames. Terry is known as "The Certified Diamond Doctor," "The Heart Specialist," and "America's Favorite Columnist," while the store has been tabbed the "Hardware Store for Women."

Throughout the 30 years in McCook, Peterson has benefitted from excellent staff members. Bill Schilz, who passed away in 2013, set the standard which has been followed by the current jewelry store team of Karen Berry, who joined the business in 1984; as well as Carmen Krepcik and the newest member of the team, Ami Macumber.

With his 30-year business career in McCook, Terry is not far from his roots. He was raised on a farm northeast of McCook in southern Frontier County. He attended high school in Curtis, graduating with the first Medicine Valley High School class in 1969. Following a couple of years of college in Kearney and North Platte, Terry served three years in the U.S. Army.

After getting out of the service, Terry worked briefly in the insurance business before becoming a jeweler.

Terry's first wife, Donna, passed away in 2004. They had two children: Tim, who works for Mutual of Omaha in Omaha, and Kellie Mahanes, a Registered Nurse in North Platte. Kellie has twin boys, Clayton and Lucas, who just turned 6.

In 2009, Terry remarried. His wife, Chris Stolte Peterson, was a loan officer with The Bank in Atwood. "I married one of my best customers," Terry said.

The past 30 years in the jewelry business have been eventful for Peterson. "We have laughed and cried with out customers," he said. As an example, Terry remembers when a young man, caught in the act of buying a ring by the bride-to-be, dropped to his knee in the store and proposed. She accepted on the spot, adding to the saga of a store which has made many memories in the past 30 years.

In celebration of their 30th anniversary, Peterson Jewelers will be offering special values throughout the store. Adding to the special occasion, Peterson Jewelers will be giving prizes for the oldest receipt from Schilz Jewelers (from September of 1984 through the summer of 1994) and from Peterson Jewelers (from July of 1994 forward to the present).

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