To walk into Simmons and Clark Jewelers is like opening a door to the past. That feeling does not just refer to the beautiful original polished wood showcases on display that were a part of the building when they opened 96 years ago. It is the feeling you have been here before. You feel truly welcomed when you walk in the door and see the face of the third-generation owner, Michael Simmons.
Michael learned the jewelry business and his love of Detroit from his late grandfather, Fred and his father George, who regrettably passed away last year. Simmons and Clark was advertised almost every day on Detroit radio in through the 1960s and 70s. The business itself was like a member of the family. Michael says his Dad instilled in him that this business was here for the long haul and to “treat people the way you want to be treated.”
The store was started by Fred Simmons and Harry Clark. They borrowed $5,000 and opened their store on October 1, 1925, just in time for the busy holiday season. They have never looked back. As one of the original credit jewelers in the country, Simmons & Clark began offering payment plans of $1 down and $1 per week till the balance was paid. They insisted on giving back to the community and started by donating to the Detroit Police Widows and Orphans Fund. That commitment continues to this day. Simmons and Clark is part of a jewelry guild that has a connection with multi-generational sister stores all over the country. They can even reach out to one of them if you are looking for a special piece they don’t have.
Michael says his father taught him that each sale is the beginning of a relationship. That relationship includes class rings, custom made pieces and commissions from major corporations for events and staff recognition. The relationships built by Simmons and Clark through the years has embedded Detroit into Simmons and Clark and Simmons and Clark into Detroit. Michael and his family love not just Detroit, but also all of the individuals who make the city what it is, Detroiters.
Michael, who earned his law degree while working six days a week at the store, says leaving Detroit was never considered. This location has survived World Wars, continual changes in the city and widely varying economic conditions and is still here. They have been and will always be committed to Detroit and give back to the community whenever possible. Hard work and a dedication to customer service makes their store stand out.
And what about the next generation? Michael has two accomplished daughters (an architect and medical records software designer) who grew up in the store and helped before and after college. They do not rule out returning to the business. Michael says they would be welcome. They have the next 96 years to make up their minds because Simmons and Clark Jewelers is here to stay.
Simmons and Clark Jewelers is located at 1535 Broadway Street, Detroit, MI 48226
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