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Grosse Pointe City jewel closes after 65-year run

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published January 14, 2020

 The Grosse Pointe Woods business George Koueiter Jewelers, which became George Koueiter & Sons, closed Jan. 11 after being in business since 1954.

The Grosse Pointe Woods business George Koueiter Jewelers, which became George Koueiter & Sons, closed Jan. 11 after being in business since 1954.

Photo by Maria Allard

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GROSSE POINTE WOODS — When George Koueiter Sr. moved from Syria to the U.S. in 1950, he found work as a diamond setter.

Four years later, the skilled jeweler went into business for himself and opened George Koueiter Jewelers at Cadieux Road and Mack Avenue in Detroit.

“My father was a real jeweler. He wanted to do it on his own,” his oldest son, George Koueiter Jr.,  said. “He was a good diamond setter. Pretty much all he did was custom work.”

With his wife, Marie, by his side, Koueiter moved the jewelry store to Hampton and Roslyn roads. The store then sparkled at Mack and Roslyn before settling at its current location at 19815 Mack Ave. The store became a gem in the city and eventually became George Koueiter & Sons. Serving the public while showcasing his craft was something Koueiter Sr. passed down to his children.

When George Koueiter Sr. passed away in 1992, the family business continued through the vision and hard work of his six children: George Koueiter Jr., Margie Brennan, Paul Koueiter, JoAnne Raffoul, Michelle Andary and Robert Koueiter. Robert is a graduate of the Gemology Institute of America located in Carlsbad, California.

On Jan. 11, after a 65-year run, George Koueiter & Sons closed its doors permanently as the family retired from the jewelry business.

“We’re all in our 60s,” Paul Koueiter said. “We decided we are ready to retire.”

Many longtime customers stopped in during the last days of business to wish the family a happy retirement. It was bittersweet.

“At the beginning, everything he sold, he made,” Paul Koueiter said of his dad. “People would come in with a sketch.”

That eventually changed when patrons began asking for necklaces, rings, earrings, bracelets and more by designers. In the beginning, clients were always looking for yellow gold options. Over the years that changed, as white gold and platinum became popular styles.

“Yellow gold is making a comeback,” George Koueiter Jr. said.

George Koueiter & Sons offered custom designing, diamond setting, watch repairs, pearl stringing, gemstone setting and more. The establishment was easy to spot on Mack, as a clock tower had been built in front of the store. George Koueiter Jr. said the clock will be moved to the first tee at the Lochmoor Club.

The most rewarding part for the Koueiters being in business for so long?

“The people,” Paul Koueiter said. “The community supported us. The last week was really fun.”

“That’s the part we’ll miss. The last day was pretty hard,” George Koueiter Jr. said, adding that his parents “left a legacy. They gave us an opportunity to succeed. We’re very pleased with how we progressed through the years. We’re a very close family. Being here 65 years, it’s tough (to retire).”

At the Jan. 6 Grosse Pointe Woods City Council meeting, Mayor Robert Novitke presented the family with a proclamation.

“George Koueiter Sr. began his business in 1954 with his wife, Marie, realizing his dream and vision to create a showplace for his unique talent and style, and their six children grew up in the business watching and learning from a master craftsman,” Novitke read from the proclamation. “George Koueiter Jewelers has always prided itself on providing its patrons with personal service to tailor their purchases to life’s special occasions. George Koueiter Jr. and family are very appreciative for the incredible support of the Grosse Pointe community.”

The George Koueiter & Sons building is for sale.

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