BROWNSBURG, Ind. — A staple in downtown Brownsburg is closing its doors.
Nelson Jewelers has been located in Hendricks County for more than 60 years. In 1978, Jeff Nelson took over for his parents as the owner of the jewelry shop.
Now, Nelson has decided to retire. But the coronavirus pandemic isn’t the reason.
“Very small role,” Nelson said. “We were shut down for two months, from the middle of March to the middle of May. We re-opened for three days a week from the middle of May to the first of June, and we’ve been open regular hours ever since.”
The real reason?
Nelson has Multiple sclerosis, also known as MS. It has made it harder for him to move around his shop and do his normal routines.
“It’s just time,” he said. “It’s been a very, very taxing time the last three months to make this decision and carry through with it.”
“Very emotional. Extremely emotional. And I’m not a real emotional person.”
LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH JEFF NELSON:
Nelson choked back tears when he talked about how proud he is of the family business.
“This was my parents’ dream,” he said. “I walked in here with one thing in mind — that I was going to be the owner. I worked 20 years, then I bought my parents out. And I’ve been the owner ever since.”
“I’m patting my employees — they’re not even employees, they’re co-workers. I’m patting them on the back. I’m patting our customers on the back. They entrusted Nelson Jewelers to take care of them as how we would want to take care of ourselves.”
He says he doesn’t have one specific customer or interaction that sticks out in his mind, but rather, all of his customers throughout the years. He says he loves the families that keep coming back.
“We’ve sold to grandparents, where then their children come in and they say they’re looking for an engagement ring or whatever, and then their children — the grandchildren — come in,” Nelson said. “There might be families where four generations have come in.”
If you visit the Facebook page for Nelson Jewelers, you can get a sense of what the shop means to the Brownsburg community, through the likes, the reviews, and the comments expressing sadness but gratitude and thanks.
Nelson said he used to get stressed during the Christmas holiday season, but his wife, Ginger, who also works with him, once helped him realize that he shouldn’t be.
“She told me ‘all these people come in to see you, and they’re trusting you to help them pick out that special something for that special someone, and you’ve been successful at it for all these years, or they wouldn’t be coming back in.’ And that gave me a whole new outlook to this.”
Nelson said those special moments are what he will miss the most, but will cherish even more during his Going-Out-Of-Business sale, which will begin later this week.
“We’ll open back up Thursday, everything will be 50-70% off, and we’ll run the sale until we get it all sold,” he said. “I think there will be a lot of people come in during the sale not just to purchase something for themselves or their loved ones, but I think they’ll come in to say goodbye.”
He says it will be a great opportunity to thank all of his customers who have helped Nelson Jewelers last this long.
So what will Nelson do after the doors are closed forever?
He wants to check off his bucket list.
“I love it in Florida,” he said. “I own a boat down there, I own some property down there. And I want to be able to run my boat.”
He said he made the decision now, as he deals with MS.
“Everybody has a bucket list. It’s just that I have a shorter amount of time for that bucket list than someone that is not inflicted with this.”