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Brighten your day with a sparkler

Watch and Jewelry Factory was voted Readers' Choice No. 1 jeweler
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There’s sparkle in Watch and Jewelry Factory found nowhere else in St. Albert. The chandelier shimmers, the diamonds glitter, the watches gleam, and the shiny glass showcases are fingerprint free. For anyone who appreciates fine jewelry and designer watches, the ambiance momentarily takes your breath away. 

Perhaps it’s the scintillating splendor that caught the eye of 231 people who voted the Watch and Jewelry Factory as their favourite jewelry store in the St. Albert Gazette’s 2021 Readers’ Choice. Or perhaps it is owner John Wyatt, a jeweler with an encyclopedic knowledge of the trade that has engendered a high degree of trust within the community. 

“I’m honoured that customers and St. Albert would think that highly of me. [Nominating me is] not something I would ask others to do,” said Wyatt. 

This is the fifth nomination since the store was incorporated 24 years ago on Oct. 8, 1997. It initially resided at Sturgeon Plaza for three years before moving to its present location on St. Albert Trail. 

Not only does Wyatt offer a full line of fashion jewelry: rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and watches. He also provides jewelry and watch repairs of all makes and models, insurance claims, and custom jewelry fashioned by an onsite goldsmith. 

Individuals drop by the Watch and Jewelry Factory for various reasons. Some wish to buy a gift for a special occasion. Others select jewelry as an investment or a hedge against inflation. Still others are looking to sell a piece of memorabilia. 

Since the business first launched more than 30 years ago, Wyatt has seen the price of gold jump close to 500 per cent. And he has seen shoppers have difficulty adjusting to the new prices. 

“It’s climbed substantially in the last few years, and it makes the retail prices go up. But I can’t control that.” 

With Christmas a mere two months away, people are already scouting online stores for ideas. Wyatt, however, will not sell online merchandise. 

“I stay away from online. First of all, you needed a dedicated person to monitor it. But I’m a firm believer people need to see and touch jewelry. And the stuff we have here is a higher quality than what some other places sell.” 

While the Watch and Jewelry Factory was affected by COVID during the initial eight-week lockdown, the disruption was limited. 

“Business isn’t quite the same level as pre-COVID, but it’s not far off. We’re not one of the stores that are 70-per-cent off and are having real trouble.” 

Even as commodity prices and inflation rise, the store still sees a steady stream of customers in large part due to the distribution of services. 

“When prices go up, people may not buy as much. Instead, as prices go higher, people repair jewelry or watches.” 

Wyatt has lived in St. Albert for 43 years and deliberately chose work here. 

“I could have opened a store in Edmonton and probably made more money. But I live in St. Albert and wanted to work in the city I live in. I can’t go anywhere without meeting people I know, and you become business friends. In St. Albert, that’s what makes us stronger — when we support each other within this little city.”