I was relaxing at home, sipping a handcrafted cocktail inspired by my nationally recognized The Manhattan Project Happy Hour drinking program when my phone rang.
I know you will not believe what I am about to tell you next. Jerry Seinfeld was calling me right here in the City of Lakewood. It seems impossible, but remember, if you are reading it in a newspaper, just like all the political news, it must be true.
Jerry told me he subscribes to The Suburban Times – Instant Joe email so as to never miss an edition of Westside Story.
What happened next is a huge compliment supporting the concept that a local Lakewood boy can make it big. He asked if I was familiar with his Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee show, and I am.
Jerry recommended I use Westside Story to copy-cat a version of his Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Jerry was quick to say he already has dibs on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, but I could have Jewelers In Cars Getting Coffee.
Jerry did not have to offer twice. Today I am bringing you the first edition of Westside Story’s Jewelers in Cars Getting Coffee.
Think of the endless fun car possibilities for Jewelers in Cars Getting Coffee!
For my first Jewelers in Cars Getting Coffee non-interview, I met Shawn Luvaas at his business location, Diamond Designs Unlimited, which is addressed as 6111 – 100th St SW, Suite A, Lakewood, Washington across the street from the old boarded-up Denny’s Restaurant. Shawn and I drove down 100th Street SW to a coffee shop, which I refer to as Radio Shack – Starbucks. If you are an established Lakewoodite, you will understand why “Radio Shack – Starbucks”.
Shawn’s parents, Darrell and Carolyn Luvaas, met and fell in love inside a jewelry store around the late 1960s. They both worked at Zale’s Jewelry at the Tacoma Mall. Spending hours at Zales meant every day was an excellent day to buy an engagement ring. Carolyn was right there, serving as Zale’s credit manager. Carolyn and the engagement ring were both in the store every day Darrell went to work. A marriage was bound to follow.
Darrell moved up to Ben Bridge Jewelry as the manager for 14 years. Carolyn joined him as a jewelry salesperson. They grew the business from 3 stores to 14 stores.
When Papa Bridge died in the late 1970s, Darrell and Carolyn started their own jewelry store called Diamonds ETC from around circa 1980 to 1990. The Lakewood jewelry store was located in front of the old Love’s Restaurant before Love’s burned down just north of Allen Realty Company on Gravelly Lake Drive.
Shawn may not agree, but it seems to me he was born into the jewelry business and was destined to become a jeweler.
As is often the case, during his younger years, Shawn had no interest in following his parents into the jewelry business. His interests were art or becoming a history teacher. Shawn did not think the jewelry business was creative enough.
Shawn’s parents started with a major jewelry store and then graduated to a small independent jewelry store operation. Ultimately Shawn joined his parents in their business after it had been in operation five years.
Shawn likened a major store as being an operation that has less quality, more sameness in terms of merchandise, and higher margins, which means customers pay more.
Shawn likened a small independent store as being higher quality, more variety of merchandise, and lower margin, which means savings to the customer. Independents typically offer more knowledge and truthfulness.
Shawn suggested that a savvy customer will be better off if they patronize a local small independent jewelry store when compared to a large major jewelry store chain. Small independent jewelry stores are often more creative with the merchandise they can offer customers.
Shawn’s parents closed Diamond’s ETC after ten years, leaving Shawn with five meaningful years of experience in the jewelry business. During that time, Shawn learned, in spite of what he had thought in his younger years, that the jewelry business involves a strong component of art and creativity.
During the process of looking for a new opportunity in the jewelry business, Shawn interviewed for a store manager position with a major jewelry store chain. As he walked away from the interview, Shawn thought to himself, “I can’t do it.”
His parents had no trouble moving from a major to an independent. According to Shawn, making a move in reverse is not easily done. At least Shawn found he could not move from a small independent store to a major jewelry store.
It was about 1992 when, with great courage, Shawn secured a modest bank loan to open his new small independent jewelry store. The location was in the old attractive brick residential rental complex that had been converted to commercial space. It was just around the corner from his parents former Diamonds ETC store. For those who have been in Lakewood a long time, Shawn’s store was in the same complex as Chris Robin’s Postal Instant Press (PIP). Do you remember PIP? I was a charter customer.
After 15 years, Shawn moved his business 300′ west to his current site addressed as 6111 – 100th St SW, Suite A, Lakewood, Washington 98499. T: 253-581-7201. Email: shawn. WEB: www.diamonddesignsunlimited.com. He has been in his current location for about three years.
If I have not yet inspired you to visit Shawn’s local Lakewood business, Shawn provides two more reasons for everyone to check out his store.
#1. When your watch battery dies, head over to Shawn’s. He will install a brand new watch battery for $5.50, including tax.
Even though I am retired on a fixed income, with no job prospects, or visible means of support, at $5.50, I was able to “battery-up” an entire bag of watches. Shawn resized two rings for me too.
#2. During a portion of the year, Shawn offers his visitors a cup of gourmet hot spiced cider.
His cider was so savory, we bought 3 containers for $3.00 each, which is cheaper than a watch battery.
Most of the ideas I write about come to me on my own. For example, I recently bragged about having invented the internet. That was my idea. Not all the subjects I write about originate with me.
Writing about Diamond Designs Unlimited originated from a request made several years ago a Westside Story reader. The suggestion was made so long ago, I do not remember who made the suggestion.
If you recognize your idea in my column, remind me it was you so I can give proper thanks.
I encourage everyone to meet Shawn Luvaas at Diamond Designs Unlimited, and when you do, tell him Joe Boyle sent you.