The Early Years
In 1927, Michael Hadraba saw growing opportunities in the western suburbs of Chicago. He left his partnership with a Chicago jeweler and started his own store, Berwyn Jewelers, in the building occupied by the “Parthenon” (later "Berwyn") theater.
In 1942, a young George Hurst worked part-time for Mr. Hadraba throughout high school and college. In 1953, Ron Hurst, George’s younger brother, carried on the family tradition and did the same.
Building a Family Business
Following Mr. Hadraba’s death in 1966, George, Ron and their nephew Chris purchased the business, and they incorporated it as “Berwyn Jewelers, Inc.” in 1967. Chris moved out of the area in 1977 and sold his shares to George and Ron. In 1974, Kathy O’Brien came to work part-time for Berwyn Jewelers and worked her way up to store manager. Romance blossomed, and Ron and Kathy were married in June 1977.
The business faced a critical juncture in 1981 when there was a fire in the Berwyn Theater building where the store was located. Friends and customers came to the rescue, helping George, Ron and Kathy save their pets and all of the store merchandise. In the midst of chaos, opportunity knocked. Their next-door neighbor, Agnes Sells, was retiring, and she offered to sell them her building. Ron and George accepted her offer, moved into the store’s current location, and transformed the business into Hursts’ Berwyn Jewelers.
The Move to a Designer Focus
For decades, George and Ron also served as educators in the community. George retired in 1983 as the principal of Washington Irving Grammar School after 30 years of molding children’s lives in Berwyn. Ron retired from his role as a history teacher at J. Sterling Morton East High School 10 years later.
In 1994, with the brothers able to dedicate their attention to the store, they embarked on a mission to reshape the business as a designer jewelry boutique, showcasing new designs that could not be found in most jewelry stores.
The success of the designer strategy soon led Hursts’ Berwyn Jewelers to be invited to premier invitation-only tradeshows, providing even greater access to the latest up-and-coming designers. The store also became an official retailer of Hearts On Fire, “The World's Most Perfectly Cut Diamond,” and has now carried Hearts On Fire longer than any other other jeweler in the Chicago area.
Although Ron passed away in 2014, and George has retired from day-to-day involvement, the commitment to high quality designer jewelry and superior customer service continues under the leadership of store president, Kathy Hurst, and her dedicated team of professionals.