The Story Of Kizer Cummings Jewelers
The history of our local, family-owned store in downtown Lawrence, KS.
Kizer Cummings Jewelers was founded in 1981 by me, Ernie Cummings. My wife and I had been involved in the downtown retail scene since 1975, starting very modestly with a do-it-yourself bead business called Armadillo Bead Company at 710 Mass.
We moved Armadillo Bead Company to the Market Place at 745 New Hampshire, sharing the building with the infamous Harvest Restaurant. Then we found ourselves at the corner of 9th and Mass helping found Pendragon Gifts. We sold our interest in the jewelry department in 1979.
We had many fantastic experiences in retail. But we realized the main thing we needed was more education in the evaluation of quality jewelry products. So…go West, young man! We packed up a VW Rabbit with all our belongings and followed the trail of the Grapes of Wrath. I entered the Class of 1979 at the Gemological Institute of America, earning my Graduate Gemologist degree in the fall. Armed with the knowledge gained at GIA, we made our return to Lawrence.
Upon our return to Lawrence, I began working at Robert's Jewelry, located where we are today. This location on Mass St. has been a jewelry store since at least 1930. We don’t know the exact date of the first jeweler but we do know that the location had the pedigree to learn the business.
I spent two years working at Roberts Jewelry and gained invaluable experiences. I had the fortune to work with a variety of wonderful people who all made it their mission to give the best customer service in the world. Old school. That experience was just what I needed to add to my high level of product knowledge and passion for jewelry. The idea for owning my own store had always been with me and armed with my experience and new degree I secured a lease at 800 Massachusetts in the fall of 1982.
Over the years I have served as the manager, jeweler and all around “go-fer” for Kizer Cummings. I have also had the benefit of access to a talented workforce. I have been incredibly lucky to have hired, taught and learned from special young people, who have gone on to be very successful both locally and beyond.
We made many wonderful friends at 800 Mass St. and then had the opportunity to move to our present location at 833 Mass in 1990. Landing in the very heart of Downtown Lawrence has always been a very important part of Kizer Cummings being a part of the Lawrence community. We are proud to be active in the community, serving on many local boards throughout the years.
During the last 24 years we have continued to make education a big part of our business. We have been members of national and state jewelers groups since 1982. We have won numerous design awards at the state level. We are also committed to the future of jewelry design and have worked with computer aided design for a number of years in the custom world. We see custom jewelry as a large and important part of our future as we strive to offer our customers an alternative to the “norm.”
We travel extensively to continue our education, quest for inspiration and discovery of new opportunities. For the past 29 years we have attended the Tucson Gem Show, learning about and sourcing some of the finest gems from around the world. We also travel to Las Vegas, New York, San Francisco, Chicago…anywhere we need to go to learn, grow and source the best for our customers.
We are blessed to have a talented, enthusiastic staff who have truly made Kizer Cummings what it is today—customer oriented, quality focused, education based, skilled service is our norm. We want our website to be a true reflection our vision, quality, passion and friendship. We invite those visiting our page to see us as we really are—a very dedicated group of individuals who love our profession and are excited to come to work every day. We will always do our best to listen, provide and create whatever our customers ask of us.