Murphy Jewelers

Murphy Jewelers

By Nancy Moffett
Photos Provided By Murphy Jewelers

Pottsville, Pa. was a thriving city of about 20,000 when Frank J. Murphy opened a jewelry and optometry store in 1913. He was a graduate of the Philadelphia Optical College. Then, it was commonplace for optometry, timepiece and jewelry repair and sales to be practiced together.

From that small beginning 100 years ago, Murphy Jewelers has grown and thrived through four generations of ownership. Today, the company has three stores and is headed by Frank’s grandson, Patrick, and his wife Kim. Their children, Mallory and Sean, are also part of the Murphy team.


When Frank’s son, Francis, returned from World War II, he joined his father at Murphy Jewelers. Francis refocused the business to jewelry, dropping optometry, and moved the store to its current downtown Pottsville Market Street location. His wife, Winnie, joined him in running the business.

Francis and Winnie’s son, Patrick, knew he wanted to be part of the business from an early age. He worked at the store during high school then trained at Bowman’s Technical School (America’s oldest watch-making and jewelry school), returning determined to make Murphy Jewelers the best jewelry retailer in the state. His wife, Kim, worked beside him to achieve that goal.

The competition in Pottsville was tough in those days. There were eight jewelry stores for a population of 20,000. How did Murphy Jewelers survive and thrive?… by adding world-renowned designer lines, providing a friendly environment (offering customers a cold Yuengling beer and homemade cookies while they shopped), a focus on excellence and “lots of hard work,” according to Patrick Murphy, president of Murphy Jewelers. Today Murphy Jewelers is the only jewelry store left in downtown Pottsville.


In 2004 Murphy Jewelers opened a second store in Hamburg, Pa. This store is the culmination of Patrick’s dream to build a premiere shopping experience. The 8,000-square-foot building features an 18-foot waterfall, a fireplace and a 30-foot atrium skylight along the length of the store. It also has more than 200 linear feet of jewelry and watches on display. Its location across from Cabela’s was no accident. A billboard expressed the thinking behind the store’s placement: “Hunting store for women this way.” The store has won accolades from “InStore” magazine, which named it one of the top 10 coolest jewelry stores in the United States.

The third store opened in 2010 at the Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley in Center Valley. “The Promenade Shops is one of the Lehigh Valley’s premier destinations for luxury shopping” said Patrick, “and we love it here.” A visit to this store finds a relaxed atmosphere where Frank Sinatra sings in the background, a TV is tuned to CNN and pets are welcome. There’s also a kiosk for instant credit checks, eliminating the chore of filling out long forms.


Of course, without excellent offerings, the Murphy Jewelers’ story wouldn’t exist. A look in the cases finds exquisite jewelry from such top designers as Tacori, Verragio, John Hardy, Hearts on Fire and others. Murphy Jewelers is also an authorized Rolex dealer, which Patrick is very proud of, as Rolex limits where its products are sold. Other timepiece lines include Tag Heuer, Michele and Burberry. “We go after the top designers,” he explains. “We were the first in the state to carry the Italian designer Ippolita.” The Murphys attend trade shows twice a year to stay ahead of competition, and Patrick travels to Antwerp, Belgium, twice a year where he hand-selects diamonds for the stores.

With three full-time jewelers on staff, Murphy Jewelers offers repairs, sizing and cleaning, polishing and inspecting and custom design. “You can’t put a price on the sentimental value of people’s jewelry,” Patrick says. With that in mind, they recently bought a laser welder that makes no-heat repairs on jewelry that might be destroyed by conventional soldering.

Murphy Jewelers has 35 employees, some with more than 25 years of service. The Murphys emphasize education, training and security and meet regularly with staff to keep them informed on new products. Corporate headquarters is in Pottsville, and Patrick commutes between stores in a Smart Car that he bought eight years ago after seeing one in Belgium. “This is just part of what makes Murphy Jewelers different,” he explains, including the fact that he and the other family members pitch in every day, cleaning the stores, answering phones, waiting on customers—putting a lot of passion and hard work into the enterprise. Another hallmark of Murphy Jewelers is the signature “Murphy Bow” that’s attached to every purchase.

As for the fourth generation, Sean designed and wrote the company’s extensive website. Not only does it give in-depth information about the brands they carry, but it also features helpful tips, such as “how to get your girlfriend’s ring size.” Mallory came on board in 2010 after graduating from college with a business and marketing degree. She brings a young perspective to jewelry selection, such as adding the Alex and Ani collection that features expandable, stackable bangle bracelets.

“I wish my grandfather could see this,” Patrick says of today’s Murphy Jewelers. “We are blessed with a great team and the customer service focus we’ve developed.” Frank would be pleased that the Murphys have made shopping for jewelry a fun experience with a down-to-earth style that emphasizes “friends first; jewelry second.”

Since 2013 marks Murphy Jewelers’ 100th anniversary, the Murphys have special events planned for later in the year. With such annual events as December 23rd’s “men’s night” complete with pizza and beer; dress-down days and Patrick’s favorite “ugly tie” day at the Pottsville store, the celebrations are sure to be inviting and fun. Check for updates.

“We sell romance and become part of people’s families,” says Patrick. “It’s a fun, rewarding job with a lot of sweat behind the scenes. We want to be and offer the best.” With a 100-year history, outstanding customer service and three beautiful stores, the Murphy family can say they are meeting that goal every day.

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