Harvey Rovinsky has operated Bernie Robbins Jewelers, which was started in Philadelphia, with his wife Madeleine for 57 years.
Harvey Rovinsky is the owner of an East Coast luxury jewelry store chain known as Bernie Robbins Jewelers. With his wife Madeleine, he has operated the business for 57 years. The jewelry chain claims to be carrying the world's most prestigious timepieces, an unparalleled diamond selection and universally celebrated designers. It was first started in 1962 by Maddy's father and has stores located in Philadelphia and New Jersey. Now, Harvey and Maddy Rovinsky are giving up the business to people they trust.
"My wife and I are not kids anymore," Harvey said, per Fox Business. "We don't have any family in the business, and we kind of need a path for succession... You know, our runway is getting shorter and if we have a problem with one of us or both of us, then the business goes away. We've been looking for a way to keep it going, to keep really great people continually employed. Many of them have been with us 30 years, 25, 20 years. So these are long-term people, they're like family."
The businessman added that the future owners "love the business" and that there's "not a doubt that they will continue this and do it successfully." They looked for quite a while for people "qualified to continue the legacy" of the original founder of Bernie Robbins Jewelers. The couple ultimately realized who would fit the bill. "We said, 'You know, this has been right in front of our faces all this time. Instead of trying to find a qualified buyer, why not give it to people that are successfully running it now,'" Harvey recalled.
The Rovinskys called six longtime employees to their home to make the surprise announcement that they would get the store in Somers Point, as well as the two others in Newtown and Villanova for free. "They understand our culture, they understand what we want. They've been doing it, they've been running it and we've been fortunate that the money aspect was not a motivation. So we're going to continue the business with the people that know how to run it," Harvey shared.
Steven Jaffe, a store manager who has been with the company for nearly three decades, was one of them. "It was really a very exciting moment for me and for the people involved," said Jaffe, per CBS News. "I've always treated this like it was my business, as do my co-owners now."
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As for Harvey, he plans on still being part of the business. The 76-year-old is a seasoned entrepreneur with decades of experience. Even though financial struggles arose due to the economy, he learned the tricks of the trade on how to keep the family enterprise a success. He will work for the new ownership group as the company's chief executive officer.
A recent sale of the business will help ensure the new owners receive a debt-free business, according to him. As for those who will continue the legacy of the business, the Rovinskys remain positive about the future. "Madeleine and I love these people. Again, we have been with them every day, many for 30 years," he said. "So it's incredibly rewarding."