1 of 2
Photo by Sydney Cromwell.
Donna Jowers inside Jewels by Rose, which is closing after 40 years in business.
2 of 2
Photo courtesy of Donna Jowers.
Above: Rose Goldner in the original Jewels by Rose location.
A woman-run jewelry business was almost unheard of when Jewels by Rose opened in 1976, but that didn’t slow down its namesake, Rose Goldner.
“My mother is really a little spitfire,” said her daughter Donna Jowers, who now runs Jewels by Rose at 619 Montgomery Highway.
Jowers is now retiring and closing the jewelry store, but its 40-year history has made the store something of an institution with local shoppers.
Goldner got her first job in jewelry sales after Jowers had married and moved away. Jowers said her mother, now 93, not only had the knowledge and “gift of gab” to endear her to customers, but also a knack for seeing the potential in pieces customers brought in.
“She started learning about jewelry from her World Book encyclopedia at home,” Jowers said.
Goldner intended Jewels by Rose to be a part-time job, but it quickly became too busy. She started in the back of a hair salon next door to the store’s current location, then somehow convinced the next-door barber into early retirement so she could move into his space instead. Jowers said her mom was a pioneer, and more than once had to set the record straight when customers came in asking for the owner, “Mr.” Goldner.
“She had to retrain the customers that didn’t know her,” Jowers said.
Jewels by Rose made a name not only through jewelry selection but also because “no job was too small” that customers brought in. Jowers moved back to Vestavia Hills and joined the business 34 years ago. She said there was a lot to learn before she moved up from cleaning counters to chatting with customers.
“There was a lot more to it than I could ever imagine,” Jowers said.
Over 40 years, Jewels by Rose has developed a loyal customer base. Jowers said she has loved the opportunity to be part of engagements, weddings and other life events. She recalled one couple who came in for engagement ring shopping, and the man got down on one knee right in the store. On two occasions, customers came by Jewels by Rose on the way home from the hospital with their newborn children.
Leaving those loyal customers now that she’s retiring is one of the hardest parts of closing, Jowers said.
“That part is hard because I’ve really enjoyed being part of their lives,” Jowers said.
However, she has a list of things she and her husband have always wanted to do that were too difficult as a full-time business owner, such as traveling, art lessons and gardening.
“I realized life is short,” Jowers said.
Alan’s Express Jewelry Repair, which operated in Jewels by Rose, will continue to be located there.
Jowers said she is grateful to the customers “for supporting us all these years and letting us be part of their lives and special occasions.”