By Lindsay Doty
A line of eager shoppers waited hours outside of Nelson Jewelers off East Main in Brownsburg for a going out of business sale on diamonds and gems that started today.
Some customers snagged deals on some sparkly Christmas gifts, making it worth the wait.
The family-owned and operated jewelry store that has sold and repaired watches, gems, diamonds, and custom creations in Hendricks County is closing shop after more than six decades in business. To clear out inventory, the store is holding a going-out-of-business sale starting today with 50-70% inventory, until it’s gone.
Longtime owner Jeff Nelson announced this month his retirement after 42 years. It was time, he says.
“I’m 65 years old and I have multiple sclerosis. There are things I want to do before I can’t,” said Nelson, who was diagnosed with MS six years ago. He looks forward to spending time with his wife and taking trips on their boat.
“There are some trips I want to take while I still can,” he said.
Nelson has been a friendly and familiar face in the Brownsburg community, greeting his customers in the front of the shop, often reaching for his small loupe magnifying glass to quickly examine a diamond or watch.
Through the decades, he’s enjoyed providing everything from engagement rings to anniversary pieces to his customers.
“There are times where I’ve sold to three generations of a family,” he said proudly.
Jeff took over the business from his parents, Phil and Kay Nelson, who started off with a watch repair shop located across the street from its current location.
As a boy, Jeff would sweep floors and wash windows at the store to earn cash for a model airplane or movie ticket money.
The oldest of four kids, the 1973 Brownsburg High School graduate took the reigns in 1998, adding custom-made jewelry to a shop heavily focused on alteration.
He worked hard to save money to attend the Gemological Institute of America in Santa Monica, Calif., and found a passion for precious stones.
He admits he will miss finding that perfect gem at a trade show and seeing it come together in a custom design.
“Being involved from the start to finish and eventually selling it, I am going to miss that, yes. That was a lot of excitement for me, he said.
Nelson has been thankful for his coworkers and his customers.
The effervescent member of the community also had a focus on philanthropy.
Nelson and his wife Ginger have participated in charities and donated to fundraisers, including Habit of the Heart, an organization that raises money for women and children in need in Hendricks County.
“We have done our best to be good citizens.. to Brownsburg, to Hendricks county and to the west side of Indianapolis.”
Community members and fellow business owners say the jewelry mainstay will be missed.
“Congratulations on your retirement and your presence all of these years in the community!” wrote Allan Bolante.