Cass County Democrat Missourian

For Harrisonville jewelers, love is always in the air

Tim Solis, owner of Golden Classic Jewelers, talked with long-time customer, Wendy Verbeek, during a December visit.
Tim Solis, owner of Golden Classic Jewelers, talked with long-time customer, Wendy Verbeek, during a December visit. Special to The Democrat

Tim and Karen Soulis launched Golden Classic Jewelers in 1981 with limited capital but an unlimited dream.

Because bringing people joy is difficult to quantify.

Their focus first was on the coin and precious metal market, but over the years, that focus shifted to retail jewelry and diamond sales. Today, the Harrisonville business also offers custom design, appraisals, and jewelry remount and repair.

As with other jewelers, holidays drive the top sales periods at Golden Classics. The strongest are Christmas and Mother’s Day, with Valentine’s Day coming in a close third.

“We see some nice sales celebrating Valentine’s Day,” Tim Soulis said. “However, we actually see more engagements around Christmas. August and September have become the new June for weddings and engagements.”

On Jan. 12, the Soulises closed their store because of a snowstorm. But they made their way through the snow to open for a customer who earlier in the week had purchased a diamond solitaire for his wife.

“We staged the ring in a rose blossom he had fastened to a sign with her name on it, along with a chocolate bar and a cookie decorated with Valentine hearts and some diamond-like crystals,” Tim Soulis said of the anniversary surprise. “It was all placed in the showcase when they came in.

“It was a very touching moment. He hugged her and told her that he loved her. There were tears in their eyes and ours, too.”

Earlier that week, a customer brought his girlfriend in to purchase an engagement ring and asked her to marry him on the spot, another moment that brought happy tears to all.

Such moments have helped the Harrisonville jewelers weather economic storms and business challenges. They outlasted the 2008 recession, during which 11,000 of the country’s 33,000 jewelry stores closed. They rebuilt after a 2016 fire destroyed their building, and have continued to expand, despite fierce competition from big box outlets and online options.

Their response to these obstacles has been to continually redefine their business model, while keeping customers and staff at the heart of those decisions. The Soulises believe these factors are key to Golden Classic’s longevity.

“The personal service is the most important part and customers appreciate this more than anything,” Karen Soulis said. “Our customers don’t feel like a number. We listen to what they want and they feel they matter.”

The Soulises consider their staff part of the family, and they foster a work culture in which trust and respect are priorities.

“In addition to the honesty of our employees, I appreciate the way that they see the big picture and think like an owner when they make decisions,” Karen Soulis said. “They balance the needs of the customer with the needs of the business — and do the right thing for both. We wouldn’t be here without them.”

Wendy Saffels of Harrisonville started working at Golden Classics in 2009. Her role includes sales, appraisals and management responsibilities. Over the years, Saffels has learned the complexities of the jewelry business and gained some personal insights, too.

“I’ve not only increased in my ability to provide value, but I’ve learned that my voice and opinion matter,” Saffels said. “The work I do makes a difference. Tim and Karen express this to me and it gives me confidence to do what I do here.”