TECUMSEH — Hacker Jewelers was a staple in downtown Tecumseh for 37 years, but Barb and Dan Hacker started planning their retirement before COVID-19 hit.
They wanted to make certain that the store was occupied by jewelers and it took a little longer than expected to find a buyer, but they found the perfect pair in business partners Cheyenne Sosman and Jackie Juhasz. The pair closed on the property in September.
The new shop will be called Patina, named for that green oxidation that is seen on aged copper, for example, the Statue of Liberty.
“We really, really wanted to make sure there was going to be a jewelry store in that space. Tecumseh is a great town and people are interested in the building and have ideas, even since COVID, but we had really focused on getting a jeweler in there. So when Jackie approached us, we thought it was going to be a great fit for the town and a great opportunity for her and her business partner, Cheyenne,” Dan Hacker said. “I have every reason to believe that they’re going to be in downtown Tecumseh for a long time.”
The Hackers said they had a great run and now plan to get some projects done around the house and, when the pandemic subsides, do a little traveling.
“Tecumseh was a wonderful town to have a business. It’s very supportive of a good quality of life. We quietly had a nice, successful business for a lot of years and it allowed us to retire on our own terms and, you know, we’re still at a relatively young and healthy age. It was a wonderful ride,” Dan said.
Sosman and Juhasz are both experienced bench jewelers. They both attended Western Michigan University and majored in fine arts with a concentration in metalsmithing. Juhasz graduated in 2007 and Sosman in 2013.
They met at a jewelry store at the Kalamazoo Mall called Plata y Oro. Sosman was a part-time sales associate, and Juhasz was the bench jeweler. Juhasz spent 15 years there, and Sosman went on to Signet Jewelry after three years and saw the corporate side of things as well as eventually became a bench jeweler. Signet owns Jared, Kay and Zales. Sosman was eventually promoted as manager and ran a repair shop for two years.
Bench jewelers get to know basically everything about the ins and outs of the business.
“A bench jeweler is anything from repairs to custom jewelry. So we do all repairs on just your everyday wares; chains, size rings, stuff like that. And then we set diamonds and engagement rings. Really now, how people shop is they pick their diamond and then they pick their ring and then we put them together and then we do customs as well,” Sosman said. “So a lot of women they see something online, they want something completely customized for them. They want to use grandma’s diamonds or they want something like creatives are really fashionable right now, colored diamonds, and then we just completely customize things.”
The pair does computer-aided designs as well as wax carvings. It takes a lot of creativity and artistry. The processes are akin to small-scale blacksmithing.
Juhasz said it was time for the pair to strike out on their own.
“I’ve seen both sides of the industry, or a couple of different ways of this. Cheyenne got to see the corporate side of business and she saw the small mom-and-pop side, and I was engulfed in the small business side for so many years,” Juhasz said. “I just love the way it’s ran and just the relationship you have with your customers and the creativity you’re allowed to bring to the jewelry world. So it was just kind of natural to take the next step. It was either work for a mom-and-pop shop forever or start our own.”
The store will open in mid-November and will be cleaning jewelry for free. Patina will carry some of the lines the Hackers carried but will put a new spin on it and carry new lines as well.
“We are planning on the middle of November, the second week of November. We want to be open before the local events and the holiday walk and all of the fun holiday festivities downtown,” Sosman said.
At a glance
WHO: Patina Jewelry
WHERE: 110 E. Chicago Blvd., Tecumseh
ONLINE: Instagram handle: @patinajewelrydesign
HOURS: Starting in the second week of November. 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday