After owning and operating Readers Fine Jewelers, 5th Generation, since 1972, Edward “Eddie” Guerboian has decided it is high time to close up shop.
“The jewelry industry is rapidly changing, as well as the retail industry for brick and mortar stores,” Guerboian said. “Since our client base is changing and primarily requesting custom made fine jewelry, we realized a large facility is no longer a requirement or feasible. After months of thoughtful analysis and deliberation, my family and I felt it was the right time to close this chapter in our lives.”
The business, located at 331 Wilshire Blvd., was established by the Readers family in 1912 as a credit jewelry store and was were Guerboian started working upon moving to America. He bought the business when the Readers family was ready to retire, adding “5th Generation” to the name, and has been satisfied to be part of the Santa Monica business community ever since.
“I came to America by myself at the age of 17 with approximately $100 in my pocket … and I’m very happy that I chose to settle in Santa Monica ‘a gem of a city,’ which was my motto during my chairmanship of the Santa Monica Chamber. But more importantly I’m very proud to have been able to continue my family’s business in Santa Monica and to be a part of this beautiful community for over 40 years.”
Readers holds a special place in many Santa Monicans hearts, and Guerboian knows residents will be sad to see it go.
“As I’ve been told by numerous customers coming in to give us a farewell, apparently we are viewed as an icon in the community and one of the last longstanding independent businesses. We have served the community through charitable organizations, we have treated community members from all walks of life with respect and dignity and we have embraced Santa Monica. Apparently we are going to be missed very much and we’re proud to hear it.
Guerboian said some of the responses they have heard include: “Where will I go?!”; “Who can I trust?”; ‘”You have to be kidding!”; “What do you mean you’re closing?”; “We will miss Momma Lucy’s baklava during Christmas!”; “Please tell me this is an April Fools Joke!”; “What do you mean you’re closing, you’re an institution!”; and “You’re a pillar of our community.”
“One client told us how she used to walk by our store when she was young and had always thought to herself that, ‘Someday I will get a ring from this store,’ and she did get her engagement ring from us and is now getting married with her wedding bands from us as well.”
But Guerboian said mostly they have heard “Who can I trust with my jewelry?”
Upon closing, Guerboian plans to take some time off and relax. He has received numerous offers for consulting jobs and to join civic organizations. “It’s very rewarding to realize that my talents and knowledge are viable and there are numerous opportunities for me personally. I still love and have a passion for the jewelry industry but I’m also passionate about serving the Santa Monica community.”
Guerboian’s son, Avedis “Avo” Guerboian, works for the family business and creates custom jewelry under the label Edward Avedis. Last year he created a custom BB-8 pin for the CEO of Disney, Bob Iger, to wear to the premiere of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” His plans for after the shop closes are a little different from his father’s.
“I have been fortunate enough in the last year to be commissioned to create some very unique custom-made pieces for celebrities, as well as numerous couples getting married,” Avo said. “This has pushed me to take that leap towards creating my own brand of jewelry under Edward Avedis. The next few months after we close, will be dedicated to creating my own collection and expanding my business online with www.edwardavedis.com, as well as by appointment only.”
Guerboian said his family is full of mixed emotions when it comes to the shop’s closing, ranging from happiness to sadness, anxiety to excitement.
“The community has always supported us and we always try to give back. As a business owner, you have to make tough decisions and take everything into consideration. The outpouring of love and beautiful sentiments has made it even more emotional for us. It’s truly humbling to realize that our clientele is going to miss us.”
Guerboian spoke of how much he wants to thank Santa Monica for all it has done for him and his family as well.
“I love you all. I like to show emotion to the wonderful people that I know.”