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Achkar Jewelers to close after 65 years serving Mahoning Valley

Published: Tue, September 13, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Karl Henkel



When Jeres Achkar was a teenager living in Cuba, he crafted his first gold ring from scratch.

He gave it to his father, Assed, who until that point never wore a single piece of jewelry even though he himself was a jeweler.

His father tried out the ring, thanked Jeres and never removed it for the remainder of his life.

It was at that time Jeres decided to become a jeweler.

And 65 years later, in the wake of his pending retirement next month, Jeres can look back and say he made the right decision.

“I have enjoyed every second of the 65 years I’ve sold jewelry,” he said. “And I’d do it all over again.”

It wasn’t an easy choice by any means, Achkar said, because his father, known as a stickler, wanted more of Achkar.

How much more?

He would have preferred if Achkar had become an ophthalmologist or a dentist.

But Achkar, who turns 80 in January, chose to follow in his father’s footsteps, and after coming to the United States at age 33, he opened a jewelry store in Youngstown, where he stayed for more than two decades.

Achkar said he would have preferred to stay in the city, but didn’t think the increasing crime rate was good for a business that dealt with valuable jewelry.

“I would have stayed downtown forever,” he said, “but it was a difficult situation, but I could not find a place that was suitable or safe.”

So in 1988, after 24 years at his downtown location, Achkar moved his business to 7313 South Ave., just south of state Route 224 in Boardman.

He didn’t miss a beat.

“Business increased tremendously,” he said.

Business remained great, in fact, even after he announced his retirement a few months back. Achkar said he’s been inundated with well-wishes from longtime customers, some of whom have some last-minute alterations and requests.

“I didn’t think going through this, it was going to be too emotional,” he said.

Achkar’s had to turn away most, because he simply doesn’t have the time to finish everyone’s requests before he closes his doors for good Sept. 30.

In fact, he’s already sold much of his merchandise and is biding his time. Achkar, of course, liquidated his store without having a sale.

He never had a sale — ever.

It wasn’t something he believed in.

“Why have a sale,” he asked, “when I always give my customers the best deal?”

Achkar said he toyed with the idea of selling the business — including his family name — but quickly decided both he and the store needed to retire together.

“It takes a long time to build up a reputation,” he said. “And it takes two minutes to lose it.”

That reputation hasn’t gone unnoticed by local jewelers, such as Bob Komara of Komara Jewelers. Komara said he and Achkar were “friendly competitors” through the years and he admired Achkar’s longevity.

This coming from a guy, Komara, whose family has run a three-generation jewelry store.

“He’s a genuine, good, honest person,” Komara said. “It’s certainly a loss.”

The community’s loss is Achkar’s gain.

He plans to spend more time with his grandson Christopher, who lives in Pittsburgh, oil painting, something he’s done for the last dozen or so years, and playing the guitar, something he hasn’t done in 35 years.

“At this stage of my life, I could get sick any time and leave my wife stuck with this business,” he said. “So now was the right time to get out.”


1vinglass(283 comments)posted 4 years ago

I have known Jeres for many years and he is one of the finest gentlemen I have been privileged to know...

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2southsidedave(5126 comments)posted 4 years ago

Wow, he never had a sale! Those are some strong accusations in the above post!

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3redvert(2185 comments)posted 4 years ago

MikeO will be back to explain in great detail what he was referring to. He is putting together the names and the timeline now!!!

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4msweetwood(174 comments)posted 4 years ago

Uhm, no he won't.

There are terms of service you must adhere to in order to comment on stories on Vindy.com. Unsupported allegations of criminal conduct that are damaging are violations of our terms of service.

We are especially vigilant for those folks who's first-ever Vindy.com post is some over-the-top attack. If you have documents to support an allegation of criminal conduct, we are easy to find via email or a phone call. And we would be happy to put you on the record (vs. an anonymous post under a story). But you simply cannot use this forum for that purpose.

Mark Sweetwood
Managing Editor

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5hellokitty(161 comments)posted 4 years ago

Mr. Achkar is a finer man than most humans could even think about being. In all ways, including tremendous generosity and a simple humbleness that is truly genuine.

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6oldone(12 comments)posted 4 years ago

Mr. Achkar has been the only one I trusted with my antique jewelry. He took an old gold watch, which hadn't worked in 30 years, and fixed it by hand and it has worked ever since.
Have lots of fun in your retirement. You will be missed

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7Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years ago

" “I would have stayed downtown forever,” he said, “but it was a difficult situation, but I could not find a place that was suitable or safe.”

The safety factor of downtown Youngstown can change very quickly . When during normal business hours an attorney can get attacked by the courthouse says it all .


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8joseph(48 comments)posted 4 years ago

MikeO is more than likely just someone that has never and will never be able to afford a fine piece of jewelery.

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9pam291(4 comments)posted 4 years ago

I worked for Mr. Achkar downtown in the early 1980"s. There is no finer man on this earth as far as compassion, understanding, and kindness for all people. Everything I have read so far is so true about this one incredible man!! He is my 2nd father, and after 30 years of friendship, I can't begin to say or explain the many, many , many good deeds he has done for customers because of their financial situation. I hope anybody who reads this, please respond and let this true gentleman know how much he is trully loved!! I love you Jeres, always, Pam

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10leigh922(1 comment)posted 4 years ago

These are two of the warmest, most wonderful, giving people I've ever met. Jeres and Ofelia have hearts of gold the likes of which I haven't seen in many, many years. We all should aspire to be even half of what they are. I have been so blessed to have had them in my life for even just a couple of years. I wish them much joy in their retirement and in their grandson. They deserve it! My love to you both, Cassie

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11RoddAC(102 comments)posted 4 years ago

@Stan - Would you PLEASE consider moving or getting a job. Thanks a lot! Crime happens everywhere, btw. You need to look beyond the mask of Hulk Hogan...that alone belies the fact you believe you do not live in a fantasy world but one of reality. He is a character, Stan, albeit one you embrace. Get real...you are NOT making a difference. - From one of the positive people of Y-Town.

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