DOWNTOWN — An engagement can be one of the happiest times in a person’s life and for Edward Guerboian, it’s an occasion he celebrates almost daily.
As the owner of Readers Fine Jewelers, Guerboian, 57, said it would take him days to recount all of the engagement stories he’s been a part of since the store opened in 1976.
Just two weeks ago he had one of his most memorable stories to date. A couple knocked on his door after hours and said they had come to look at rings. Once the woman had chosen a ring, her fiancé motioned to Guerboian, got down on one knee and proposed in the middle of the store.
“It was so exciting,” Guerboian said of the evening.
These stories continue to excite him even though he’s heard them his entire life. Jewelry has long been a family tradition, extending to Guerboian’s great-great grandfather Gregory.
“My dad, my grandfather, they started in Europe and we just passed along through generations,” he said. “It’s tradition.”
Though his father died when he was only 16, Guerboian kept the tradition alive, moving to the United States in 1967 and opening his shop in Santa Monica a decade later. As the oldest of four children, Guerboian supported his family and saved enough money so they could join him in California.
“It’s something that I promised my dad before he died, that I would take care of my mom and siblings,” he said.
Since opening his own store on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fourth Street, Guerboian has made sure to keep things all in the family. His wife is the chief financial officer of the company, his 84-year-old mother continues to help in the store and two years ago, his son joined the staff full time.
With his son by his side, Guerboian has been able to realize his dream for a larger business and recently renvoated the store.
Construction began five months ago while Guerboian continued his business out of a few small cases in the art gallery next door. He marked the completion of the new store on June 19 with a re-opening celebration.
“It was my vision, my dream to one day have a large store where I could serve my clients better — provide more services, more merchandise,’ he said.
He and his son, Avedis, have also launched their own jewelry lines called the Edward Avedis Bridal and Fashion collections, which showcase custom designs with an art deco touch.
“I increased my selection a lot in the last year and a half because I could see there is more love in the air lately,” Guerboian said of the recent expansion. “Couples are getting engaged.”
Though he’s not a resident of Santa Monica, Guerboian said he spends more time in the city than he does at his home because of the many community groups he has joined over the years.
“I live in Santa Monica,” he said. “I just don’t sleep in Santa Monica.”
In his 41 years as a member of the community, Guerboian has served as chairman of the board for the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, president of the Kiwanis and board member for the Santa Monica Boys & Girls Club and Santa Monica College.
“The community has supported me these last 40 years, and I want to give back to the community,” he said of his involvement.
Calling himself Coach Eddie — from his days as a basketball coach for the Boys & Girls Club — he said that nothing makes him happier today than having couples return to his store.
“I love people and that’s why I’m in this business,” he said. “I want my customers to come back. I enjoy seeing the couples come in with their kids.”
But his favorite engagement story after all these years is his own.
“I’ve been married for 33 years so I’m one of the luckiest guys in this room,” he said. “I gave her a small diamond back then. She’s got a bigger one now but she still keeps it.”