“It carries us no matter what,” co-owner Rick Hartley said about the service-oriented features of the business, such as the custom design, or the repair and restoration work that he and his employees provide.
Although customer service has lifted the business during slow periods, Hartley said that the jewelry for sale in its showroom is “beginning to sell a little bit better.”
Hartley, along with his brother, Jim, began learning their jewelry skills when their father was stationed at Fort Lewis. They formed the business as teens and quickly developed wholesale and retail clients. It was a home-based business for about 20 years, and has spent another 20 years or so at its current location, near the corner of Harrison Avenue and Cooper Point Road in west Olympia.
Jim Hartley is no longer with the business but still does custom jewelry work for friends, Linda and Rick Hartley said.
Although the Hartleys’ dedication to service hasn’t wavered, trends in the jewelry business have changed over the years. One current trend is using alternative metals, such as titanium or black zirconium, to create men’s wedding bands, Linda Hartley said.
Some customers, too, inherit diamonds or other precious stones and then look to Hartley Jewelers to create a piece of jewelry.
“There’s been a resurgence of people wanting to do this,” she said.
Also popular among customers is wanting to sell gold to take advantage of the recent run-up in gold prices. Longtime jewelry expert Craig Oliver, who works for Hartley Jewelers, has seen it all before, recalling past spikes in gold prices. Oliver is on staff to evaluate the gold brought to the store, and the business pays 50 percent to 70 percent of the daily spot price, he said.
Higher gold prices can result in some customers bringing crowns or fillings to the store, Oliver said. “Anything that has gold in it has value,” he said.
Jan Chastain of Lacey, a longtime customer, called Hartley Jewelers an institution.
“It’s just a pleasure to go in,” she said, adding that she never feels pressured to buy, or that she’s going to be ignored if she doesn’t. “They just make you feel nice.
“They have a lot to do with the heart, even though the business name isn’t spelled that way,” Chastain added.
Owners: Rick and Linda Hartley
Years in business: Started as a home-based business in 1967.
Location: 400 Cooper Point Road SW, Olympia.
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturdays.
Services: Jewelry sales, custom design, repairs/restorations, appraisals, buying gold.
Did you know? Linda Hartley’s brother-in-law is Doug Sisk, a former relief pitcher for the New York Mets. The Mets won the World Series in 1986 and Sisk received a World Series ring as a member of that team. Hartley Jewelers has molded, appraised and sized that ring, the owners said. Hartley Jewelers also is the official jeweler for the Miss Washington pageant.Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/bizblog