New Grader Jewelers Building Sparkles In Waterford
by Larry Kelley
During its Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting March 30, Grader Jewelers’ new shop at 217 Boston Post Road in Waterford looked nothing less than—what else?—sparkling.But despite the impressive array of glittering diamonds, jewels, and gold, perhaps the most impressive and interesting item was a framed picture of 48-year-old newspaper clip. The faded-to-tan page of the Norwich Bulletin showed Peter Grader and wife Lorraine cutting a ribbon with Rose City dignitaries to open the first Grader Jewelers’ shop in downtown Norwich, right above the hill from the Viaduct.Peter, Lorraine, and son Mark and family continue to maintain Grader Jewelers as a vital presence in southeastern Connecticut for the last half century with jewelry shops in Groton, Norwich, and Waterford.“They’re a great family to deal with,” says Tony Sheridan, President and CEO of the Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce. “They are local and honest. If something isn’t right, they give you personal attention. The shop is truly beautiful and repre- sentative of what Grader Jewelers is all about.”Grader Jewelers has conducted business in Waterford for 30 years, 12 in Crystal Mall and 18 in a strip mall at the corner of Clark Lane and Post Road. When a dentist’s office left 217 Post Road recently, the Graders pursued the opportunity to move into the shop.“We’re happiest and most suc- cessful when we have our own build- ing,” Lorraine said. “Making our own statement is what we’re about. We’re very excited about the store. It’s in a perfect spot, right across from the Post Office, with lots of traffic and plenty of parking.”
Peter, who emigrated from Germany at age 18, met Lorraine at college in Long Island. They went into business locally soon after getting married. Mark, whose first job as a toddler in the first Norwich store was rewinding the cuckoo-clock, never considered getting into any profession other than the family business.
“When you grow up in a family business and feel the happiness, you want to follow,” Peter said. “I’ve enjoyed the fact that we deal with customers who are celebrating special times in their life.”
Peter and Mark have traveled throughout Europe to attend diamond conferences, keeping them on the cutting edge of styles throughout the years.
“We’re very conscious with staying with the times,” Mark says. “In business you have to reinvent yourself.”
Loyalty, consistency, and custom- er service never change in their quest to remain a vibrant family business.
“I’ve traveled quite a bit on the job, but the fact is when you run a family business, you are pretty much tied to the home location,” Mark said. “I found out very early on that home is a wonderful place to be.”
Grader Jewelers plans to maintain its sparkling presence locally—ex- tending their stay to 50 years and beyond.
“At a time when people look twice at their dollar before they spend it, it’s important to conduct business with passion and love what you do,” Peter says. “We look forward to con- tinuing our family business for a third generation.”
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