A local jewelry store is closing its doors in September.
The owners, Larry and Pam Wykert, are rock hounds.
The St. Joseph couple have a plethora of treasures at their jewelry shop, LC Jewelry, 1419 Village Drive. There’s picture jasper, collected decades ago in Idaho, chert found at the Wykerts’ farm and some turquoise and petrified wood, too.
“It’s like an Easter egg hunt,” Larry Wykert said.
He enjoys the hunt as much as the find. Back at his workstation, Larry Wykert cuts, shapes and polishes his new pieces. Sometimes, he said, it takes time to get to the rock’s true beauty.
“You never know what you’re going to get,” he said of opals and jaspers.
Larry Wykert was working at Krause Milling when he started creating jewelry. He would shape his rocks to make necklaces and sell them to the guys at work. While he was self-taught, he did take a silversmith class at Missouri Western State University and learned from a fellow jeweler, Joe Barnes.
Larry Wykert received his first jewelry license in 1971, and the couple have owned their own shop for at least 30 years with Pam Wykert still doing the books by hand.
The Wykerts have shared their beloved business with generations of faithful customers. But the couple are retiring and closing their local store in the EastRidge Shopping Center.
“The Lord says there’s a season for all things,” Larry Wykert said.
Both agreed the customers will be sorely missed.
“I love trying to please them,” Pam Wykert said. “I won’t miss the hours but I will miss the customers. Most of us became friends. They’re repeat customers.”
She said that relationships were forged years ago, sharing good memories like the birth of children and grandchildren and bad memories like the death of loved ones.
Over those years, the Wykerts received postcards from their customers. Evidence of those trips and their thoughtfulness is displayed all over the walls of their business.
Pam Wykert said that many customers have shed tears after learning the couple are retiring.
“They’ve been doing business with Larry for so long they just don’t know where to go,” she said.
The couple have pointed customers in the right direction, however, telling them of other jewelers in town who are trustworthy and honest.
While Larry Wykert is officially retired, he does plan to continue his love of rocks at home while the couple help raise their grandson.
“I enjoy making things,” Larry Wykert said. “I would have retired before ... but I like the people. And I like to share the Gospel (with them).”
LC Jewelry is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.