Editor’s note: This is part of a series of stories about the local businesses in the City of Fairborn called Fairborn Connection – putting a face to the names of those that have been part of the community for many years and some of those well-kept secrets.
FAIRBORN – Pete Bates has been working at Shwartz Jewelry for more than 30 years. Married 13 years, he grew up in Bath Township and currently lives in Enon. He graduated from Sinclair Community College and came to work for Dr. Shwartz at Shwartz Jewelry at the age of 21.
Even though he lives in Enon he has kept Shwartz Jewelry at its current location in Fairborn – where it has been since 1942. In the three decades his customers have become some of his friends. He never felt the need to move because he loves the location and business neighbors.
He said he went into jewelry because he thought it was a good business and Dr. Shwartz was a teacher who knew what he was doing. Pete said he felt like this career chose him as much as he chose it.
Some of his customers are from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and a big part of his business is by word of mouth and referrals. His website allows some of his military customers continue to shop at his store through the mail and by phone.
The variety and inventory of his shop depends on where he goes and what he wants to add to his collection, but as an independent jeweler, Pete can do anything he wishes.
The jeweler tries to keep up with the trends. Another reason he’s so popular, as he saves his clients money by waiting for an item that was hot last year. They will get the same item a little later, but at a much lower price. This is what makes Shwartz Jewelry special, as customers appreciate Pete for getting them a great piece of jewelry at a good deal.
Shwartz Jewelry offers diamonds, gold, watches, rings and other pieces of jewelry for sale, and there is jewelry repair. Pete has full service in sizing, repair and insurance appraisals. Appraisals are conducted at the store. They don’t send it off, but you do need to leave it there at the shop so they can measure the stones and look up the current value. After this, they give you a certificate for insurance.
Customers trust Pete to get their antique jewelry refinished, repaired, resurfaced and cleaned properly, as he has years of experience and treats each piece of jewelry as if it was his own.
He does trade-ins, but only for his customers. If you buy something from him and keep the receipt, he will take it back in a trade-up for more expensive jewelry if it meets with both approvals. Pete only does this with his jewelry as he knows what he has and trusts it to be the high quality jewelry that could be turned over in another purchase without worry of selling a poor quality piece that someone may have gotten from somewhere else.
Pete said that customers find his store inviting because since it has been around for so long, “people know that they are good at what they do and have an honest, fair, good reputation with quality merchandise, and that they provide a service in Fairborn that is still needed.”
Pete would like to see the city of Fairborn improve in some areas.
“The city needs to let the businesses run their own businesses as they know what works,” he said. “Government needs to stay out of the way of businesses telling them what to do and how to do it.”
“We need to address growth, rentals, empty buildings, drugs and other issues that other cities have too. Supporting our businesses with our local people who live here instead of going elsewhere is a start in the right direction. We’re a small town but we have the services of the big towns just not at the big ticket price and need to remember that when we shop for items, food or services shop Fairborn.”
Shwartz Jewelry is yet another business with the Fairborn Connection that helps downtown Fairborn thrive.
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