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Making customers for life

BUSINESS PROFILE: Real Gem Jewelers of Shakopee

Real Gem Jewelers prides itself on quality products and service

By Scott Thoma

The Real Gem Jewelers staff includes front, left to right: Duane Wermerskirchen (holding Bean), owner; and Beth Wermerskirchen, store manager. Back, left to right: Ginger and Alex, sales. Contributed Photo

Established in 1982, Real Gem Jewelers of Shakopee has stood the test of time because of owner Duane Wermerskirchen’s simple philosophy.

“We want to do what makes a customer happy,” he said. “It could be educating them about jewelry, repairing a watch or ring, or making a custom design for them. Having them leave the store satisfied is what this business is all about.”

Wermerskirchen transformed into the jewelry business while he was working as a Certified Dental Technician.

“A dentist and a jeweler use a lot of the same equipment,” he explained. “I was making caps and crowns as a dental technician. I also started making jewelry on my own for my sister and my mom, and other people saw it and wanted me to make some for them. So, I started making and selling jewelry while I was still working as a dental technician.”

One of the deciding factors in Wermerskirchen going into the jewelry business was when he was searching for an engagement ring in the early 80s, but had little knowledge about cut, color, clarity and carats.

“I went to two or three places and no one really explained anything to me,” he recalled. “They would just tell me the price, but they didn’t explain anything about the different pieces of jewelry. It was a little frustrating.”

The interior of Real Gem Jewelers. Contributed photo

Wermerskirchen eventually purchased a former jewelry business in downtown Shakopee and named it Real Gem Jewelers. Ever since he opened the jewelry store, he makes it a point to educate customers on whatever items they are spending their hard-earned money on if they ask.

“I still love what I’m doing,” he said. “I love meeting people and helping them with any jewelry problems they might have. We do everything here. We sell jewelry, we repair jewelry and watches, and we can make a jewelry item that a customer might want. A lot of jewelry stores don’t do all those things. We offer everything from a simple watch battery to making a custom design. Someone might want their grandmother’s broach made into something else, or a band on their watch adjusted, or a Rosary restrung, or a little cross added to a deceased husband’s wedding ring. We will make whatever they want. Our customers are important to us.”

From the beginning, Duane has strived to create a welcoming and educational experience for each and every customer. He wants his customers to find exactly what they are looking for without breaking the bank.

It’s because of those ideals that Real Gem customers keep coming back, Wermerskirchen noted.

“I remember a gal came into our store about 25 years ago with her mother and asked if I could fix her mom’s watch,” he said. “I fixed it and treated them right, and before long I had the grandmother coming in the store, and then a son, a brother, and cousins. If you treat people the right way, they will keep coming back and tell others about their experience.”

Wermerskirchen has a staff of four, all with the same mindset of educating customers and treating them the right way.

Real Gem store manager Beth Wermerskirchen and owner Duane Wermerskirchen. Contributed photo

“Real Gem custom-made a three-generational ring for me. It was absolutely beautiful. I highly recommend Duane and the staff at Real Gem. The ring turned out stunning,” said Annette H.

Beth Wermerskirchen (no relation to Duane) is the manager of Real Gem Jewelers and “is the backbone of the company,” Duane insists. Ginger and Alex are the other knowledgeable and friendly staff members.

“I had the pleasure of working with Real Gem Jewelers and I was not disappointed. Duane and Beth went above and beyond to create an exceptional experience. I plan on coming back to their store,” said Louis C.

Among the services offered by Real Gem are: Custom jewelry designs, financing, gold & diamond buying, jewelry appraisals, jewelry insurance, jewelry repairs, pearl and bead restringing, and watch repairs.

No matter where you purchase your jewelry, Real Gem will inspect and clean it in-house free of charge. They also offer interest-free financing options such as thee-month layaway or 12-month Synchrony Financing.

Real Gem Jewelers is located at 108 First Ave. East in Shakopee. Contributed photo

“My now-fiancé stopped into Real Gem a few months ago after having a horrible experience with an online order of an engagement ring from a big-name diamond retailer,” said Sarah. “My fiancé wanted to propose on my birthday, and was unable to do so with a ring, and we were devastated when they said my ring would be on back-order for months after weeks of waiting for it to be delivered. My fiancé cancelled his order and decided to stop by Real Gem as it was local and had good reviews. He explained our situation and wanted to pick out something that he ideally could take home that day if possible. The staff were genuine and honest, they did their best to help him out and went above and beyond to help him pick the perfect ring on such short notice. He ended up finding something he liked even better. I’m so happy with my ring, and I will happily be giving them more of my business in the future.”

Real Gem, which has a five-star online rating, is the largest jewelry store in the Southwest Metro area.

“We have a hometown atmosphere here,” he said. “Our customers come from all over. We know our customers by name. If they move away, many of them will come back to have repairs or adjustments made. Our customers are our customers for life.”

Real Gem Jewelers is located at 108 First Ave. East in Shakopee. For more information or to make an appointment, call 952-496-2000 or visit their website at

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