Harris Jeweler celebrating 75 years in business


By Sam Wildow

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TROY — Harris Jeweler, a local family business with its third generation at its helm, is celebrating 75 years of being in business this month.

“Our main goal at Harris Jeweler is to inspire love and happiness,” Bonnie Harris Frey, owner and president of Harris Jeweler, said.

Frey’s grandfather Harold Harris started the business in 1946, originally opening the business in Sidney following the end of World War II. The business moved to Troy approximately 30 years ago, and it had multiple locations until it was consolidated to one location in 2001, which is still its current location at 2343 W. Main St., Troy.

Harris was from Kenton, Frey said, and he was inspired to start Harris Jeweler after Robert Shipley, a founder of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Gem Society (AGS), came and spoke at Harris’ high school.

“This was right after these organizations were being founded,” Frey said.

Frey said her grandfather was drafted into World War II, and he saw approximately 50 combat missions before returning to the area and opening Harris Jeweler. Harris also became one of the first certified gemologists in the United States and Canada, and he was also awarded membership into AGS in 1950.

The business has gone on to receive a number of awards, including being named one of the Coolest Jewelry Stores in America in 2006. Harris Jeweler has also been named Miami County’s Best Jeweler for nine years in a row. Harris Jeweler also has a five-star rating on Google and Facebook with over 650 reviews, and it has been a member of AGS for 66 years.

Another aspect of the business they are proud of is the fact that the staff of approximately 14 employees has a combined experience of 200 years in the jewelry industry, Frey said. This includes a designer who used to design for Marvel and Disney.

“We have an absolutely amazing staff,” Frey said. “We would not be where we are today without our staff.”

During the COVID-19 shut down last year, Harris Jeweler was closed for approximately eight weeks, but the business was able to keep its staff on during the shutdown and they all returned after the business reopened following Governor Mike DeWine’s stay-at-home orders.

“We were really thankful we were able to keep all of our staff employed for that time,” Frey said, adding that many of their staff members had been with the business for decades.

Harris Jeweler also saw an influx of new customers following the pandemic when customers first avoided or were unable to go to chain stores in malls.

“They didn’t have anywhere to go, so they’re coming into their local jewelers, and they’re realizing the experience is much better, so they’re staying,” Frey said. “A lot of the independent jewelers are really growing quickly because our experience is so much better.”

The experience includes not only customer service but also the quality and pricing of their products, Frey said. She said the “quality of our jewelry is a step above.”

“We also have an amazing custom design team and an in-house repair facility,” Frey said.

Frey also praised the community rallying around them and other small, local businesses following the pandemic and last year’s retail shutdown.

“We’re super grateful for the community and their support,” Frey said.

With its quality products and faithful customers in mind, Frey said Harris Jeweler will be celebrating its 75 years in business with a sale between June 24-26 where over 1,000 items will be 50 percent off.

“We’re going big,” Frey said.

Harris Jeweler also specializes in bridal jewelry — including engagement rings, wedding bands, and custom designs — as well as estate jewelry.

In line with their goal of inspiring love and happiness, Frey said they aim “to have happy clients that love whatever we’re doing for them.” Frey recalled her father, retired CEO Mark Harris, telling her he got to work every day with people who were happy and in love.

“It’s just amazing because you get to be part of their life story,” Frey said. “Some people are coming in for weddings and first babies and anniversaries and birthdays — you know it’s always a fun occasion.”

Frey took over the business in 2010 from her father, who also graduated from GIA, after he retired. Frey joined the business in 2007 after graduating from Miami University and GIA. Following in her grandfather’s footsteps, Frey earned the title of certified gemologist appraiser from AGS, which is a title awarded to less than 1 percent of jewelers in the world.

Frey hopes to one day pass the business onto a fourth generation to one of her children, Cooper, 6, and Chloe, 3, whom she shares with her husband, Matthew.

For more information on Harris Jeweler, visit www.harrisjeweler.com or call (937) 335-0055.

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