Jewelry Store Owners Stepping Aside After 46 Years

A staple on the southwest corner of Glenwood’s Town Square is closing its doors.

For nearly 50 years, Warren’s Jewelry has been a go-to store for everything from diamonds and China patterns to engraved gifts and grandfather clocks, but Dave and Janet Warren say the time has come to move on. They’ve been liquidating remaining merchandise over the past month as they make way for a new business set to open in the center portion of the three-fronted building - Juniper Metal Works, owned by Amber Landolt.

“Glenwood’s been good to us,” Dave Warren said during a recent interview. “We raised our children here and our five grandchildren all went to school here.”

Dave and Janet Warren came to Glenwood in 1973, taking over a Cole’s Jewelry store. Dave had been doing trade work in the design jewelry business and frequently traveled to Glenwood from the Omaha area to call on Cole’s and Robinson’s. They also considered opening up shop in Atlantic or Red Oak, but chose Glenwood as their hub because of its easy access to Omaha.

“We almost went to Atlantic, but liked being close to Omaha,” Dave said.

The Warrens received a warm reception from the Glenwood community and quickly established a customer base from western Iowa and eastern Nebraska. Eventually they would add Iowa stores in Red Oak and Davenport.

The store made a name for itself with its custom jewelry, design, casting and diamond work and was often on the cutting edge in providing new services and products. Warren’s was one of the very first retailers in Iowa to do ear piercings. Janet said she quit counting how many pairs of ears she pierced in the first year once she reached 1,000. One weekend alone, she did between 300-400 piercings.

Warrens was among the only stores in the area to cash in on the “mood ring” craze of the 1970s.

“Dave came back one day and said, ‘I just bought something called a mood ring,’” Janet recalled. “When we first got them, they didn’t sell. Then, all of a sudden the news people started writing and talking about them and they just took off.”

Dave said he first purchased 120 dozen of the color-changing mood rings and later acquired an additional 600 dozen. They were a “one-year flash,” Dave and Janet said. The rings sold for around $7.

“People would come in and try on a mood ring and say, ‘Let me see what kind of mood I am in today,’” Janet said. “Nobody in Council Bluffs or Omaha had the mood rings, so we had all these jewelry stores calling and asking, ‘Do you have any extras and can we get some?’”

Clothing, screen printing, awards, engraved gifts, watches and clocks have also been a big part of the business over the years.  Grandfather clocks, in particular, were a Warren’s specialty.

“I delivered one in Creston one year on Christmas Eve,” Dave said. “The person said, ‘You beat Nebraska Furniture Mart by $30 and you delivered it.’”

Over the years, Warren’s was also the place in Glenwood to get a watch battery replaced.

The Warrens said they remember a time when the Glenwood business district was bustling with retail stores.

“Saturdays were so busy that we’d close the Red Oak store and have the employees come over here and work,” Dave said. “Glenwood’s not the retail hub it used to be, but there aren’t empty storefronts on the square, which is something you can’t say for a lot of towns.”

The Warren’s children, David and Lisa (Reinert), have played vital roles in the operation of the family business, which includes JoDon’s Designs in Bellevue, Neb.

The closure of their Glenwood store doesn’t mean Dave and Janet are going to disappear into retirement. Dave said he’ll continue to stay busy with some specialty work and Janet will continue her bookkeeping duties at the business in Bellevue.

“I wouldn’t say we’ll be completely retired,” Dave said. “We’re going to stay busy.”

Dave and Janet said they’re  appreciative of the support and patronage they’ve received in Glenwood over the past 46 years.

“It’s been a great community for our business and for our family,” Dave said.
 

The Opinion-Tribune

116 S Walnut St Glenwood, IA 51534-1665
PO Box 191 Glenwood, IA 51534-0191
Phone: 712-527-3191
Fax: 712-527-3193

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