End of an era for Ibert | New
Twenty-six years after opening a mom-pop jewelry store together, George and Yvonne Ibert, longtime Hammond residents, have decided to retire and enjoy their golden years together.
The business duo and the 51-year-old married couple will shut down George Ibert jewelry and gifts this summer. George Ibert achieved his goal of celebrating 50 years in the jewelry business last October. A retirement plan in conjunction with the 50th anniversary has been pushed back to the spring due to the pandemic.
“Yvonne and I have worked side by side since joining the company in 1981, and in 1995 when we made the decision to work in this store, we worked even more closely together and we have it. built one year at a time, ”George mentioned. “And that was great, but since we did everything else together, we decided we wanted to close it. It seemed like the next natural step. “
Being extremely active in the day-to-day activities of the business, they didn’t think they could just hand over the task to someone else.
“We each had our different responsibilities, talents and respect for what the other person did, and we have come to know through the years where my weaknesses are, his strengths and whatever weakness he had, j ‘was strong,’ said Yvonne. “And together we have become a great sales team. It has been extremely rewarding. “
Because they own their own business, the transition to retirement is a longer process, which they have already started. Ibert will remain open as stocks decline. The store still does regular repairs, giving customers the opportunity to bring in items before the doors are closed for good.
Yvonne equated the process of shutting down the business with what they had to do to start it.
She joked that the fuss made it look like they were in week 7 of the Christmas season.
George and Yvonne have been discussing their departure for three years as they approach their 50-year personal milestone. George said it happened to them so quickly that when it was finally here he felt at peace that it was time.
It was a joint decision, like all their decisions, he said.
“When you do something for 50 years and it puts you at a different age, your body tells you you have to step back,” Yvonne said. “Every day is a new challenge, it’s fun, exciting and rewarding, but it’s also very tiring.”
Retailing is very physical and mental, and it uses all of the senses – visual, creative, business, personal and relationship skills, she said.
Most of their trips have been in conjunction with corporate entertainment trips, so now they will have a new freedom.
“Having unlimited time is going to be new,” said Yvonne.
Their family can’t wait for them to enjoy the holidays, instead of being tired after a busy Christmas time.
“My daughter said to me yesterday, ‘I’m so proud of you and mom.’ How many people can choose a career for life that provides a good standard of living, provided an education for our two children, and now we are able to come out with the fruits of our labor, ”said George.
“Not many people can say that,” he said. “We have been very blessed.”
“We couldn’t have done it without the employees and the community,” said Yvonne, adding that their greatest asset has always been their employees.
George Ibert has worked in the jewelry business since 1970. His wife joined him after spending time raising their children until they were in school. The couple opened George Ibert Jewelry and Gifts in 1995 on Southwest Railroad Avenue, where the store has remained since.
Two years later, they opened a second location in downtown Hammond, but by 2000 the business had grown so they thought it best to merge the two small locations into one large at the site of ‘origin.
George recalled that when they opened the store it felt like they were filling a void left by the closing of another store where they had previously worked. Now the void opens again.
The Iberts have tried to maintain the level of service as they did in the 70s, 80s and 90s, he said. The motto – professionalism, integrity and action – guided their decisions.
“Business ethics is one of the main issues we have tried to focus on and maintain,” he said.
“Fifty years in the same small town doing the same thing, and of all the accomplishments we have, the biggest accomplishment is that we came out with our heads held high and we kept our customers at heart,” she said. declared.
Many people came to congratulate us and thank them for everything they have done. A couple, whose children George helped with engagement rings, came from Mandeville just to say goodbye to them.
While the outpouring of gratitude and love is very gratifying, it doesn’t help matters, George said.
Yvonne said there were so many fond memories of selling engagement rings.
“We believe in our community; our community believes in us, ”she said.
One of the greatest joys, she said, has been the ability to support the community by donating to the university and the hospice, as well as children’s health campaigns through articles. auction.
“We always believe in giving back to what comes our way, and that’s one of the people who breaks down in tears saying I don’t know who is going to fill that void,” she said.
George pointed out that the close does not reflect economics or customer support. The business is not suffering from the pandemic and has been robust with a fairly good 2020, despite being closed for six weeks in the spring, he said.
The couple are aware of the scarcity of their business, as many small independent businesses don’t last as long as theirs.
Yvonne says she doesn’t take this for granted and appreciates the years of support from the community, as well as the support of people who have just found out about their business.