A Family Treasure
Robert Goodman Jewelers Nears 20 Years of Providing a Truly Local Experience
Photographer: Brian Brosmer
Bob Goodman has been in the jewelry business since he was 16 years old. It wasn’t something he was forced into, either, simply because it was the family business. His passion for the industry happened naturally, he says, and only continued to grow as he got older.
“I don’t know that there was really a start to it,” Goodman says. “My family was jewelry store owners and before that, manufacturers. It was never something where I was told, ‘Bob, you are going to have to go into the family business.’ This is what I wanted to do. I never thought about doing anything else.”
Today, 45 years later, it’s a business and an industry that Goodman is still passionate about. That passion came naturally and organically, but Goodman, looking back, credits his father with showing him the ropes and mentoring him along the way.
“Dad was my mentor and my best friend,” Goodman says. “He and his architect invented the lease-line concept where you push up six inches to the mall line, for jewelry stores. In terms of retail vision and creativity, he was a trailblazer. He was also one of the early retail jeweler store owners to go to Hong Kong back in the 70s. I remember as a teenager, he would come back from those trips and go over the orders with me. He was way ahead of his time. He was always important in the national industry but never asked for any recognition.”
Goodman’s own store, Robert Goodman Jewelers, opened in 2000 in Zionsville — where he and his wife Rose-Marie have been ever since. Several factors went into the decision to open up shop in Zionsville, but it mainly came down to the people and the community.
After looking at spots on the southside and near Traders Joe’s along 86th Street, Goodman landed on Zionsville and a location that he believed would be booming. It was an area that Goodman kept an eye on, and he knew the demographic fit perfectly for what he and Rose-Marie wanted to accomplish.
“We wanted to do a higher quality product and that fit for Zionsville,” he says. “People are very discerning in terms of the quality of what they have. I’m not suggesting people here buy expensive things, but they want things that are well made. I don’t think we really realized when we did it how much of a good fit that Zionsville was.”
The location itself, along North Main St., is “out of the business cluster,” and that, along with the charm of the building, drew the Goodmans to the spot.
Nearly 20 years later, Robert Goodman Jewelers is still family-owned and a staple of the Main Street area and community. The longevity, Goodman says, is certainly special but a credit to the support of the local community more than anything.
“Any business that can survive for 19 years isn’t a credit to the business owners, it is a credit to the people that support the business,” he says. “What is special to us is the community support and the fact that 60-plus percent of our volume is historically done in the 46077 zip code. That tells us that the people who live in Zionsville are very supportive of us. We are incredibly appreciative of every individual in the community that does support us.
“I often say to people, ‘If being in the retail jewelry business took brains, I couldn’t do it,’” Goodman adds. “Rose-Marie and I have always said that the success has nothing to do with our business acumen. We live in a remarkable community where if you offer something that they feel is appropriate, then they will support a local business. It is our job to offer it and provide service to them.”
Robert Goodman Jewelers is a true mom-and-pop experience, and that is by design. When you walk through the doors, you aren’t greeted by a newly-hired salesman looking to make a quick sale. Instead, customers that walk through the door are greeted by Bob and Rose-Marie. The couple has always preferred it be that way and, being a small family-owned business, they never planned on hiring anyone else.
“Those relationships far exceed any business success,” Goodman says. “We are a unique mom-and-pop shop with no employees. That is just part of our model. A store manager or a salesperson isn’t going to help you when you walk in here, you are always going to get helped by one of the two owners. We’ve evolved over time with the advent of social media though, and we do have a social media marketing partner.”
Over the years, the Goodmans have remained active in the community. Bob has been highly involved with the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce and a supporter of the local arts. Not to mention, the shop sponsors local events throughout Zionsville each year, like Christmas in the Village.
That involvement, Goodman says, will never stop.
“Involvement in the community is something a small business should do, period,” he says. “That is part of being a good community partner. That is and will always be our community vision.”
After 19 years, the Goodmans still wake up excited for the day and the opportunity to serve others. The same passion when they first opened the doors nearly 20 years ago is still very much present for both he and Rose-Marie.
“I love the jewelry business,” Goodman says. “It is great helping someone find a piece of jewelry that is going to make their partner happy. Who doesn’t enjoy bringing a smile to somebody’s face? We both love interaction with our customers too, and not just on a jewelry level. We love hearing about their families and what is going on, and we love talking about the issues of the day with people in a non-confrontational way. We also love being in Zionsville. I like getting in the car and driving into Zionsville every day. We like this community. I enjoy walking outside our doors, standing on the sidewalk and looking up and down the street. If we were in a different location, it wouldn’t be the same.”
Robert Goodman Jewelers is located at 106 North Main St. in Zionsville. You can visit them online at robertgoodmanjewelers.com or give them a call at 317-733-9170 for more information.