A local jewelry store that's been in operation for 41 years is about to call it quits—unless a late-developing plan to sell the business to a former employee comes to fruition.
J.L. Hupp Jewelers, 7808 E. 96th St., Fishers, has announced it will close Aug. 31 when the store's lease expires and the owners, Jerry and Lynn Hupp, retire.
The owners have already announced a retirement closing celebration that includes closeout sales, but Lynn Hupp told IBJ a former employee recently approached the Hupps about purchasing the business, which could result in the store staying open under new ownership.
Jerry and Lynn Hupp opened their first jewelry store inside the Galleria at Glendale Mall (now Glendale Town Center) off 62nd Street and Keystone Avenue in Indianapolis in 1977.
Lynn Hupp has a background in accounting and bookkeeping and Jerry Hupp has a business management degree. They always had an interest in starting their own business, she said.
In 1991, the Hupps moved their store to their current location in Fishers. At the time, 96th Street in Fishers was a two-lane corridor and the strip mall northeast of the Interstate 69/96th Street interchange had few neighbors.
They’ve had a front-row seat to watching the community explode, and their business has benefited because of the city’s growth, Lynn Hupp said.
“We knew it looked like a good spot, but didn’t realize it was going to have the growth it has had. It’s just grown unbelievably,” she said. “We’re very blessed to have been able to stay in business through all these year through the recession and everything.”
Lynn Hupp said they’ve always felt like a small-town jeweler in the big city.
“We know our customers, they come in because they know us. It’s just a different feeling than some of the larger chain stores.”
The store sells a variety of jewelry items, including custom made and estate pieces, watches and clocks. The business also offers jewelry appraisals and repairs.
The Hupps don’t have any children to take over the store, and they’re ready to retire and spend time traveling, Lynn Hupp said. As an independently-owned jewelry store, one of them always had to be at the store, which means they haven’t taken a vacation together in more than 20 years.
“Being in retail for 41 years, even though we’ve worked together for 41 years, it would be nice to spend time together outside of work,” she said.
If the store purchase works out, the Hupps would likely stay involved for a few more months to help the new owners adjust, she said.
“It’s been a great business. We’ve enjoyed it. It’s going to be very, very difficult to leave,” she said.
Without an acquisition, J.L. Hupp would join a landslide of jewelers that have closed over the past decade. Closures and consolidations have been rampant in the industry since the Great Recession, although the pace is slowing.
The Jewelers Board of Trade said 817 U.S. jewelry retailers stopped doing business in 2017 while 131 opened their doors. Both numbers are down from 2016, which saw 1,269 closures and 214 openings.
Several longtime local jewelers have closed or announced closures in recent years, including Harry Gaunt Jewelers earlier this year, Hofmeister Personal Jewelers Inc. in 2016 and G. Thrapp Jewelers in 2015.