A faded framed newspaper photo that hangs in Snow’s Jewelers shows a smiling family -- Edward and Ida Snow and their son Gary -- as they sign a lease to become the first tenants on Main Street in Miami Lakes.
That was in 1983.
“This was just getting going,” Gary Snow, 74, said about downtown Miami Lakes.
He recalled how half of Main Street was pasture for The Graham Companies’ dairy cows when the Snows became the first tenants, and that the hotel was new, as was the athletic club.
“[The east side of the street] wasn’t even built, where the movie theater is,” Snow said.
It was a gamble for his parents to move their business, begun in 1958, from West 49th Street in Hialeah. But it paid off with a bigger space.
“It was time to move,” Snow said. “This was a better location.”
Forty years later at 6837 Main St., the business has survived a recession and a pandemic.
Snow is in the process of turning the business over to a member of the family’s third generation: Youngest daughter Marisa Snow-Colston, 38.
“It’s nice,” she said. “[It’s] something to be proud of, that’s the biggest thing that I can say.”
Her sisters Jennifer Snow and Amy Snow-Skapinetz are not in the family business.
Gary Snow’s brother Eddie Snow opened his own Snow’s Jewelry store in Coral Gables in 1974.
Snow’s Jewelers in Miami Lakes will host a happy hour on May 3, in appreciation of their customers.
“It’s more a party than a sales event, to take a walk down memory lane with us and see how my grandparents met, to where we are present day,” Snow-Colston said.
Snow is teaching his daughter what his parents taught him. And those lessons are not just everything about the jewelry business, but the importance of customer service that extends beyond a transaction.
Gloria Martinez lives in town and has shopped at the store for 25 years.
“I’ve been going to Snow’s Jewelers for so long because when you walk in there, they treat you like if you were family,” Martinez said.
And she said her family has benefitted from the owners’ talents and care.
“I’ve had special pieces I’ve wanted to make for my twins or my husband, and they really take the time to sit with you and capture what you want put into a piece,” Martinez said.
Trust in the Snows can span an ocean.
“Our daughter moved to Switzerland, and she lived there for six years, and she would give me her pieces,” Martinez said.
Martinez would bring her daughter’s jewelry home for Snow to work on and take it back to Switzerland when she visited. Martinez isn’t the only devoted client.
“I had a lady send me her Rolex watch from Virginia to be repaired,” Snow said. “She [previously] lived on Queen Palm Terrace, and she moved away.”
Martinez said of the Snows, “They give you that specialized care, treatment and experience… you just don’t have that service anymore.”
Repairs range from replacing watch links and changing batteries to fixing a broken earring or necklace clasp.
The Snows specialize in ring mounting and overhauling luxury brand watches.
Their fine jewelry selection helps mark milestones in life, whether it’s a baby ID bracelet or graduation necklace or timepiece, engagement ring or anniversary gift.
Clients have included professional athletes who have lived in town.
“Tony Nathan, he’s been coming to me for years, he’s a former Dolphin… [the late Pro Football Hall of Fame coach] Don Shula and Dorothy, his first wife [who also passed away], were customers,” Snow said.
The father-daughter team has divided duties as Snow-Colston takes on more responsibilities.
He handles the books and is available for advice.
She buys jewelry, “staple pieces” such as pearl necklaces, gold bangles, diamond solitaire pendants, stud earrings and tennis bracelets, which are back in style.
During the last two years, there was an uptick in sales of the status bracelets, and some customers are even upgrading or getting a second bracelet, she said.
Snow-Colston has also added fashion-forward lines from designers Ti Sento – Milano and Shy Creation, the store’s most popular brands.
Her father said it was important to keep up with customers’ tastes.
“I remember way back in the ‘80s, you couldn’t give away white gold,” he said. “People were into yellow gold. Fashion has changed.”
Snow’s has expanded its business online and offers many price points for customers to choose from.
“The internet has changed a lot of things,” Snow said. “We have a webpage you can buy from. You have to change. You can’t stay still.”
He is pleased that customers ask for his daughter.
“I’d like to keep that trust going,” Snow-Colston said. “Keeping the family trust is at the top of our priorities, [as is] people knowing they can rely on us.”
Snow offered a reminder that Mother’s Day is fast approaching, on May 7.
On May 6 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the store will have a trunk show featuring the brands Shy Creation and Ti Sento - Milano.
Those who attend the event will receive a gift with purchase.