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The Buzz: Knights Jewelry to reopen

Longtime Appleton jewelry store prepares to reopen with familiar faces

Nov. 4, 2013
 
Knights Jewelry plans to reopen shortly in Appleton.
Knights Jewelry plans to reopen shortly in Appleton. / Maureen Wallenfang/Post-Crescent Media

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Knights Jewelry will be reopened in about a week by members of the family that have run the business for decades. The jewelry store is at 220 E. Wisconsin Ave. in Appleton.

The store’s rebirth comes after a time of family tragedy. Owner Mark Witzke died last December, and ownership of the store went to his wife, LaVonne, known as Vonnie, who worked in education. She ultimately decided it was best to liquidate, and the going-out-of-business sale wrapped up in August.

Now two members of the Witzke family — Mark Witzke’s brother, Michael, and his mother, Lois — are reopening the business and essentially recreating the store from scratch.

“We’re going to carry on the family legacy of the business,” Michael Witzke said. “It’s been in our family since 1969. Mom has been part of the business for 40 years. I started in 1980. We’re going to carry on the tradition and keep it in the family.”

After working in the store for 30 years, he left in 2010 to return to school and study business management. At that time, he was thinking about opening his own store.

Now he and his mother signed a new lease on Oct. 1. They rehired Eunice Klemp, a bookkeeper who’d been with them for 40 years.

“Right now, we’re working on getting accounts reopened,” Witzke said. “With Vonnie having the going-out-of-business sale, and settling Mark’s estate, she had to close the accounts, which is understandable. We’re figuring it all out.”

Witzke doesn’t have an exact opening date, but estimated it would be “within the next week or so even if we don’t have a full inventory.”

They’ll need to build up the selection of bridal and fine jewelery, as inventory is costly. “That’s the primary reason we’re not going to start back in with a $200,000 inventory.”

He’s a certified goldsmith and said the shop had always done a lot of jewelry repairs, which it will continue to do along with buying gold.

“Eight out of 10 people come in for rings to be fixed or watch batteries,” he said.

The store’s new phone will be 920-733-7332.

— Maureen Wallenfang: 920-993-1000, ext. 287, or mwallenfang@postcrescent.com; on Twitter @wallenfang

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