BUFFALO, N.Y. — Sid Birzon and his brother Gerald were in the wholesale business 1952. Seventy years later, the locally owned jewelry store now operated by Keith Birzon is closing for good.
He calls the closing of Birzon Jewelers "bittersweet."
"I've been in the business 34 years, so it's time to retire now, Birzon said."
The current location is on Niagara Falls Boulevard in the Town of Tonawanda.
Birzon took a few minutes out of his busy day to speak with 2 On Your Side's Claudine Ewing about the business and the jewelry industry.
"The industry is changing. Laboratory grown diamonds are becoming more popular and we never believed in that, so we never got into that at all," Birzon said.
He prefers "diamonds mined," which could take a million years to make as opposed to a month in a laboratory.
"We just think diamonds are worth it, those laboratory grown diamonds are worth zero as an investment," Birzon said.
Customers who bought engagement and wedding rings were coming into the store for the big retirement sale. They did not go unnoticed.
"We have new generations, it could be three, four generations. Some are still loyal to us," he said, adding that "with the internet, younger kids don't know about shopping at a brick-and-mortar store."
His advice when buying fine jewelry, "see it in person, feel it, touch it. Learn a little bit more about it instead of just reading about it."
Birzon plans to travel during retirement. His life for the last 34 years included working six days a week.
Birzon's retirement sale has merchandise priced at 65% off. The store will close on Christmas Eve. Extra jewelry not sold will be placed in select local jewelry stores for consignment.