by Elizabeth Wehman, editor

BRIAN CERVENY, owner of J. L. Cerveny Jewelers, is shown with his sales staff during the final days of business in downtown Owosso. The business will close its doors at the conclusion of 2016. Sales staff includes (from left) Gizelle Ross, Jan Moberg, Cerveny, and Marcia Wert. (Independent Photo/Elizabeth Wehman)

In 1944, Joseph Cerveny purchased a jewelry business in Owosso. He learned the craft well and often you could find his sons, Brian and Daniel, apprenticing under him. In 1972, the current store on Main Street was purchased by Cerveny and in 1991, Brian purchased the business from his father. Brian took what he had learned from his father and continued the strong, vibrant jewelry business in downtown Owosso. “The business has always done very well here in Owosso,” Brian commented.

The amazing part of the Cerveny Jewelry store is the building itself, built in 1884. Leo P. Ball, with the help of architect/contractor C. H. Malisky of Owosso, designed the storefront by installing onyx spandrels under the bronze shaped and curved display windows. All were draped in velvet. A sweeping dual staircase to the second floor was installed, leading to an area featuring a cozy brick fireplace and ornate chandeliers. Schmidt Jewelers purchased the store from Ball in 1958.

Soon Joseph purchased the building as a fourth location, in Owosso, for Cerveny Jewelers and it has continued to be a vibrant part of the downtown area for many years. But now it’s time for Brian Cerveny to retire. “I want to do lots of traveling,” he commented, “but also not have to hold to the rigid schedule a store requires of its owner.” Brian plans to sell much of the inventory, which has been lucrative during the holiday season, but also plans to sell many of the antique furnishings before selling the building itself.

A tour of the building revealed a second floor which includes several floor to ceiling carved oak display

cases as shown. The cases were built during the Victorian era complete with counter-weighted glass doors. Made by the Owosso Casket Company, a subsidiary of Woodard Company, the display cases are a rare and beautiful heritage of the past manufacturing aspects of Owosso. Also continuing to hang are the antique chandeliers which have been a part of the store decor for many years. All attached antiques will be sold with the store.

Cerveny does plan to sell everything and move on, but if a buyer doesn’t come, he will rent out the store.

A Legacy of Cerveny Jewelers was last modified: January 2nd, 2017 by Karen Elford