||September 25th, 2008|
A Gem of an Idea
History has a way of growing logically and Bob Bauman is living proof. Yep, he’s still around. Not as often . . . he only comes in to Bob’s Gem Shop about once a week . . . but he still comes in and practices his trade as a top notch jeweler.
Originally, Bob Bauman started a rock shop over on Mission Avenue in Escondido and was there for around 10 years. Then he moved over to his present address, 250 West Crest, where he continued, but with a new name. It had now become Bob’s Gem Shop and, while he still spent a lot of time on rocks and minerals, he now had become a full service gem shop, including repair.
In fact, Bob developed a rather unique marketing concept. He hired employees who could ride motorcycles and sent them out to other stores to pick up repair work. They would bring the jewelry that needed repair back in their backpacks. Bob would repair and return, all by motorcycle. Soon, Bob’s reputation as a top repair center blossomed and the business continued to thrive, both with the retail trade as well as his colleagues in the business. The other stores knew Bob would get the repairs done on time and within budget.
Meantime, Bob would also wholesale diamonds. He would close the store on Saturdays and display his diamonds, rocks, and minerals on paper plates, on folding tables, in his store. It was closed to the public on Saturdays, wholesale only.
This was how Bob built his business . . . and his reputation, which in the gem business, is your business. Clients for gems and other jewelry depend on their trust of the store and the personnel with whom they deal.
In time, Bob decided to cut back a bit. He sold the store to Cynthia Williams and Susan Jester. A mother and daughter team, they owned the stores from 1991 until just recently when they sold the store to a young couple, Wayne and Maria Bray.
Wayne had come into the store in 1994, wanting to learn the trade. He worked for free, learning from Bob, from Susan, and studying. He worked pretty much in the back room, learning jewelry repair, polishing, appraising . . . and became a graduate of Gems Institute of America (GIA) where he learned the craft of diamond grading, analyzing color and gemstone grading and certification.
Wayne and Maria, in fact, had their wedding rings made at Bob’s Gem shop. They’ve been married now for 13 years, and have two sons. In addition to his extensive training in gems and jewelry, Wayne also has a fascinating background as one of San Diego County’s premiere chefs.
He’s served as chef for cruise lines, for resort hotels in the Carribbean, such exotic ports of call as St. Thomas, St. Johns, Tortola . . . the list goes on and on. More locally, he was chef at a Rancho Bernardo area where he earned a #1 rating for seafood for two years running. He is used to dealing in elegance . . . so his training and acquisition of Bob’s Gem Shop is a natural growth.
Wayne had managed another jewelry store for a year, then owned his own store on the coast for three years. When he learned Susan wanted to retire he made a leap of faith and bought the store, where he had started to learn the trade originally. He’s never looked back. Business is great. He’s got a tremendous, well trained and loyal staff. Ernesto, his Master Jeweler, has been here for 27 years.
“Lots of people know and love this store . . . everyone brings their stuff here . . . it has a great reputation for honesty and integrity, well trusted by the community, both business and social. We estimate there have been over 100,000 repairs over the last 25 years. We’re here as stewards of that reputation, of that business history. We’re proud of the store and its history and reputation. We will build on that base,” said Wayne.
Wayne has learned the trade . . but his Master Jeweler, Ernesto, does everything from diamond setting, to wax carver, to fabrication, any type of silver, gold or platinum fabrication. Tiffany Libby works as both a pearl stringer and in general sales. The store manager and licensed GIA appraiser is Rachel Kelly.
“When we bought the store, we kept all the employees because they’re the ones who had developed such great reputations and our customers, old and new, loved them,” said Wayne.
Both he and his wife, Maria, are active in the community. Maria is a credentialed teacher, working on her Master’s Degree. Currently, she is helping to take care of Wayne’s father who is seriously ill.
Together, Wayne, Maria, and their staff provide a variety of services. They appraise home owners insurance, give free verbal appraisals, purchase gold, platinum, silver or purchase entire estates. With Bob Bauman coming in every week, plus the complete staff, Wayne and Maria see a continuation of the rich tradition of Bob’s Gem Shop. It’s all right there . . . at 250 West Crest, Suite A, Escondido.
Wayne & Maria Bray, new owners of Bob’s Gem Shop