Longtime Bradenton jeweler to close after 67 years in business

Customers fill Pierro’s Jewelers in West Bradenton before the store closes its doors for good.
Customers fill Pierro’s Jewelers in West Bradenton before the store closes its doors for good.

A mom-and-pop gem in Northwest Bradenton is closing after nearly 67 years in business.

Ron Pierro, owner of Pierro’s Jewelers for 44 years, is 68 years old. Though he’s enjoyed his career in the jewelry business, he wants to retire before any potential health problems arise. He also wants to spend more time with his wife, Mary Beth, and disabled son, Joe.

But the decision to close the family business wasn’t easy.

“The thing you miss about it is all the different people you meet,” Pierro said. “You meet the nicest people. You meet people from all over the world and from all different backgrounds.”

Unlike going to the dentist or doctor, customers come to Pierro’s in a good mood already, Pierro said. They’re often shopping for a capstone on a special life event, such as a birthday or an anniversary.

Pierro hasn’t determined an official closing date; it depends on how much inventory the store is able to sell through its ongoing 30 to 70 percent storewide sale, he said. The closure likely will happen in the next six to eight weeks, Pierro said.

This marks the second longtime Manatee County jeweler to close its doors in the past few months. In November, Suncoast Gems, which was in business for 31 years in the county, announced it was changing its business to fit the times by going to an appointment-only model.

Pierro’s Jewelers’ lease at 6749 Manatee Ave. W., in the Fresh Market plaza, ends in May. The 56,800-square-foot shopping center is owned by Promenade Associates LP, a Benderson Development Co.-affiliated company.

The other three Pierro brothers chose to go into insurance, banking and engineering, leaving Ron to carry on the family business. Bradenton has seen many businesses come and go during Pierro’s 67 years of business. Quality of products and service has kept the jewelry shop open through the years, Pierro said.

Longtime staff member Bonnie Bradley, 72, agreed.

“I think it’s because people trust us and we have generations of customers,” Bradley said. “I have people that their grandparents shopped here and they buy their wedding rings here. We don’t play the market up or the kind of games chain jewelry stores do.”

Above the dull roar of jewelry repair and cleaning equipment in the back of the store, Pierro’s jeweler Mike Stevens said he was ready to leave the industry just before the Pierro’s opportunity came along. He’d worked for one or two national chains and a couple of small jewelry businesses that left a bad taste in his mouth.

“I was so fed up with the way they did business,” Stevens said. “And I was so impressed by Ron’s ethics and the way he does business. I feel very privileged and proud to work with him.”

Stevens, 53, did find another employment opportunity in Bradenton at a jewelry business that he trusts. He will move on to work for Ware’s Jewelers, 3545 53rd Ave. W., where he already works one day a week.

For any questions about Pierro’s services or the closeout sale, call the store at 941-792-2967.

Janelle O’Dea: 941-745-7095, @jayohday