Written by Ali Bechtel, Originally published in the January 2016 issue of Berks County Living
When Patrick Murphy took over the family business, he set a goal to grow it into the biggest and best jewelry store in Pennsylvania. As Murphy Jewelers celebrates 100 years and has come to be known as one of the state’s foremost jewelry retailers, he is well on his way.
100 Years, 4 Generations, 3 Stores, 1 Family
Traveling schoolhouse clock repairman Frank J. Murphy began the Murphy Jewelers legacy in 1913 when he opened a small jewelry and optometry shop in Pottsville, where he was joined by his son Francis on his return from World War II. A few years later Francis’ son Patrick started spending afternoons after school in the shop, sleeping behind the counter or cleaning the glass.
Today, Patrick and his wife Kim have grown the business into three locations that have all come to be known for their designer offerings and exceptional service. “To make it to 100 years is like a dream come true,” Patrick said. “I hope my grandfather is up there smiling at me and saying, ‘Wow! Never in our wildest dreams did we think it would turn into what it is today.’”
And Then There Was One
When the third generation of Murphys took over, the business was still a “mom and pop” shop, one of eight in the town of Pottsville. At the time, salesmen from each store would travel door to door carrying their merchandise, but all of it was the same. Patrick knew that to grow they would need to do something different. He and Kim began traveling to trade shows to find different designers and more unique items. Today Murphy is the only jeweler left in Pottsville.
Their success helped them to open their second location in Hamburg. “I read this article that this hunting store by the name of Cabela’s was going to be coming into the area, and I’d never heard of it before,” Patrick explained. When he read the new store was expected to bring more than 6 million people into the area he thought it was a mistake, but he decided to take a chance. The location has since been named one of the top 10 coolest jewelry stores in the country.
Striving Forward, Remembering the Past
No matter which location you visit, you’re sure to receive the true Murphy experience. The family takes a “friends first, jewelry second” approach to make each customer feel like they are walking into the family home, not a retail store. They have succeeded for three generations by meticulously selecting only the best designer lines and most beautiful jewelry, and also by being “honest, sincere, and down to earth.”
Now, the fourth generation of Murphys wants to make that experience available to everyone. After several years of hard work, Patrick and Kim’s children Mallory and Sean have launched an online store, and are not stopping there. The family is also scouting the location of a fourth store.
No matter what the future holds, customers can be sure that Murphy Jewelers will retain its rich traditions and will continue to delight everyone who purchases a package with that signature Murphy bow.
Did You Know?
- One of the stores jewelers, Charlie, bakes fresh cookies each night for customers. (Nervous about picking the perfect engagement ring? They’ll even throw in a Yuengling!)
- The Murphys travel to Belgium several times each year to hand select the diamonds to be sold in the store.