2014 BEST Fine Jewelry Store: E.R. Sawyer Jewelers
Author: Elaine B. Holtz
May, 2014 Issue
“We never say ‘no’ to a customer’s request. We always try and figure it out and give them what they want.” —Leslie Griswold
E.R. Sawyer Jewelers opened its doors in Santa Rosa in 1879 and has been serving Northern California residents ever since. A family-owned business passed down through the generations, it prides itself on strong customer service, integrity and a willingness to tackle any design a customer has in mind. While the names, faces and locations of the store may have changed, what remains constant is the honesty and integrity E.R. Sawyer Jewelers is known for—and has been since its founding.
In 2002, owner Robert Van Dyke retired, and his son, Doug, stepped in to lead the store forward. Being raised in Sonoma County, both Doug and his wife, Ame, appreciate the importance of doing business locally and giving back to the community. The Van Dykes are active members of the community, and it’s not uncommon to see them and their children at a community event or fund-raiser. They’ve sponsored organizations like the YWCA, The Living Room and many elementary and high schools.
A husband-and-wife team, they report the secret to their working success as having clearly defined roles that complement each other, along with similar goals. “My wife is the customer service and fund-raising expert, and I take care of the day-by-day business issues and do all the accounting,” says Doug.
E.R. Sawyer is considered the largest jewelry and manufacturing facility of jewelry north of San Francisco. The Van Dykes attribute that to their willingness to create designs that, oftentimes, other jewelers find too challenging and to their hiring of designers “who are second-to-none,” says Doug.
Leslie Griswold has been in jewelry sales and design for more than 15 years and with E.R. Sawyer for two years. She believes the store is so successful because of the effort that’s put into developing a strong team and providing all the support needed to make sure customers get satisfaction, particularly with custom design work. “We never say ‘no’ to a customer’s request. We always try and figure it out and give them what they want—which gives me, along with the customer, a great deal of satisfaction,” she says.
A customer since the early 1990s, Jim Bielenberg, CFO of Truett-Hurst Winery, has purchased watches, rings and other jewelry over the years for his wife and daughters. He likes the fact that, if you can’t find what you had in mind, E.R. Sawyer will design it for you. “Customer service sets them apart from any other companies I’ve done business with,” he says. “The store has changed over the years and appeals to a broad spectrum of customers and price points. My daughters (26 and 27) would be equally comfortable shopping at E.R. Sawyer as my wife and I. I’m also impressed with Doug and Ame’s generosity giving back to the community and how they’ve always exceeded expectations of the many people I’ve referred to them. I know their phone number by heart!"
Although the company has had its ups and downs, it’s been able to survive and the future looks promising. It recently brought on the Heather Moore jewelry line, a heartfelt, personalized line of charms and pendants, which can be completely customized in either silver or gold and even inscribed. “What makes us who we are is the constant awareness of the changing needs of the market, while honoring the clients we have now and those of the future,” says Doug.
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