Wagner Jewelers a longtime Marysville treasure

  • By John Wolcott SCBJ Editor
  • Tuesday, September 2, 2008 1:29pm

Despite expanding competition from jewelry counters at Fred Meyer, Costco, The Shane Co. and others, Wagner Jewelers in Marysville continues to thrive as something of an anachronism — a neighborhood jeweler, a very popular neighborhood jeweler.

“There aren’t many of us left. But we’ve been here since 1981, growing from a small jewelry store to become a full-service jeweler. We have our own selection of hand-picked items you won’t find in chain stores,” said co-owner Jeff Wagner. “Our staff includes two goldsmiths in the store to help design and create personalized jewelry, plus a watchmaker. People still get the same personal customer service we’ve always offered.”

Cliche or not, personal service is the distinctive element that has made Wagner Jewelers both popular and successful, he said, a view echoed by his brother and business partner, Doug.

Community involvement has been another factor in their success. For the past 25 years, they have provided a scholarship for a Marysville-Pilchuck graduate each year, whether their business was struggling or surging.

Both men grew up with their brother Greg on their parents’ family farm in Harrington, 50 miles southwest of Spokane. Greg stayed at the farm while Doug headed to the University of Washington, graduated from Eastern Washington University and headed to Los Angeles. He found work with Zale’s Jewelry stores and then worked his way north, in one jeweler’s store after another. Meanwhile, Jeff attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, then followed Doug’s suggestion to try Fred Meyer’s jewelry departments in the Portland area, where Doug had worked for several years.

“In 1981, Doug called me to say there was an opportunity to open a jewelry store in the Kmart shopping center being built in Marysville and there was no other jeweler in town. It was a great location,” Jeff said.

Today, the neighborhood jeweler is still there, but there are fewer other stores like theirs — family owned, providing personal service and involved in their community. Very much aware of the rarity of their breed in today’s marketplace, their motto continues to be: “If you don’t know your jewelry, know your neighborhood jeweler.”

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