Charles is my birth name, but my father and I go by Chuck, it just seems to fit us both better. I was born in Salem, Ohio but consider another Ohio community, Norwalk, as my hometown because we moved there when I was still a youngster and I have lifelong friends and memories from Norwalk. Sports are big in small towns in Ohio, and I took full advantage of the “perks” associated with being a three-sport letterman. Norwalk is also where my middle-class Midwest work ethic and core values took root. Working on farms, auto repair shops, and lumber yards on weekends and summer vacations I learned much about the value of hard work and the idea that “if it’s going to be, it’s up to me.”
My jewelry career also began in Norwalk at a three-store chain called Holman Jewelers. There I learned basic bench skills, diamond and gemstone product knowledge, and sales. At Holman’s, I learned the value of providing personalized service that not only meets a customer’s expectations, but exceeds them. This principle caught the eye of The Westhall Company, a family-owned Ohio-based chain of 27 stores. They recruited me to be a store manager, and from there I advanced to multistore management and ultimately vice president of regional operations during the 1980s as they grew to become Sterling Inc., a public company with over 2,000 stores worldwide when I resigned in 1992.
When Sterling Inc. bought Kay Jewelers, I came to New England to facilitate the transition. I fell in love with small-town New England (Mystic in particular), coastal living, and the love of my life, Susette. So when the Kay acquisition was completed, I turned down an opportunity to transfer to California and facilitate another acquisition. Instead, Susette and I opened Simply Majestic Jewelers in Olde Mistick Village, got married, and devoted ourselves to exceeding the expectations of our customers and our neighbors.
It also brought me back to the jeweler’s bench where my career began. I really enjoy using my own two hands to make treasures for people and repair and restore heirlooms of every price range. I think I most enjoy when someone comes in frustrated and desperate, having been told by other jewelers that something can’t be done, and we do it under budget and ahead of schedule.
Our new adventure is to try to expand our hometown values, service, and exceptional product lines—including Susette’s new Simply Majestic by Susette line of jewelry—to include online access to everything we do at Simply Majestic. I also have fully embraced the idea that belonging to a community in any capacity comes with a responsibly to invest your time and skills in the community’s areas of need. I have grown personally from my service as chair of Stonington’s Planning and Zoning Commission, Stonington’s Plan of Conservation and Development Committee, Stormwater Management Committee, Capital Improvement, as well as chair of the Olde Mistick Village Merchants Association and a few others.
My hobbies include wooden boat building restoration, gardening, and cooking. I’m also a dog lover, but that is more a way of life than a hobby. If you have ever been at Simply Majestic, you’ll know that my Doberman friend Micah and I are inseparable.
Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. For the really fun details, you will need to stop in at our small town jewelry store and share a few of your own stories.