The Bergman story begins in 1884 with a 21 year old young man being sent by his employer Hammel Riglander Company, a large importer of wholesale jewelry and watch parts in New York City to a small Midwestern town of Omaha, Nebraska.
That man, Sol Bergman, was assigned the task of helping the Max Meyer Company of Omaha sell a $10,000 consignment of watch materials that Meyer had purchased from Riglander.
What Sol became aware of was that he liked Omaha; its business potential and its people. They were honest and hearty people who possessed a candor that made him feel pleasantly at ease when compared to the hustle and bustle of New York City.
Sol Bergman seized the opportunity to buy what would become Bergman Jewelers. With Omaha as their home the legacy has continued with Sol’s son Clarence who started as a salesman when he was 18-years-old as well as his son-in-law, Stewart Gilinsky.
That same year, the Bergman Company began wholesaling jewelry, diamonds, watches, and other jewelry store merchandise to Midwestern retailers.
Stewart Gilinsky’s son Larry joined the company in 1961, and today is president.
Over the years the Bergman Company has endured in Omaha while many other family-owned companies have disappeared. A good deal of that longevity can be attributed to Larry Gilinsky’s willingness to try new things. Bergman’s went from wholesale to retail in the late 1980s when retailers started partnering with manufacturers directly.
Today, Bergman Jewelers is firmly established and change is constant. The newest area of growth can be attributed to the consignment program. People bring in their diamonds and fine jewelry to sell in the retail environment. It’s allowed the store to cut its inventory budget to make room for customers diamonds and fine jewelry in the cases. “There’s no such thing as a used diamond”, Larry says.
“Omaha has been good to our family – to all the generations – our hope is that the business continues to thrive here.”