A.L. Jacobs and Sons, an 83-year-old family-owned Point Loma jewelry shop, is holding a liquidation sale. Third-generation jeweler Chris Jacobs, the last remaining family member in the business, has decided to call it a career.
“I am retiring and closing the business,” said Jacobs, the son of the son of a jeweler whose grandfather, Alocious Leo Jacobs, started the business in downtown San Diego in 1937. A.L Jacobs and Sons had four different locations from 1937 to 1996 when the family closed its last downtown location.
Admitted the 67-year-old Jacobs, “I’d been thinking about retiring for a while.”
Jacobs said his decision was hastened by the pandemic.
“We were closed from March 9 through May 6, and those six weeks with nothing happening … it made [retiring] a lot easier. I’d been working in the store for 44 years.”
Jacobs noted the family business once employed not only his father and grandfather but two aunts and two uncles. “I’m the only one from my generation who stuck with it,” he said.
The retiring jeweler also noted that stiff competition from internet sales was a “big factor” in his final decision to close.
“It’s hard to keep your business afloat when you’re competing against people (online) who actually have no overhead and can therefore sell stuff cheaper because they do not have a brick-and-mortar shop,” Jacobs said. “I did my best to meet their prices, but it was difficult.”
Though Jacobs pointed out storefronts do continue to enjoy some advantages over online. “With brick-and-mortars people can come in and touch and feel, and there’s actually someone there they can deal with, as opposed to just going back-and-forth through emails and a website,” he said.
Pointing out closing is “bittersweet” after 83 years in business,” Jacobs acknowledged, “I will miss it, but I won’t miss having to be responsible for everything.”
Asked about his retirement plans, Jacobs said, “I’m going to get a nice bike and ride that a lot more. I’ll play my guitar more, maybe start up a band. As soon as it gets to be safe, I could travel.”
Belonging to the Point Loma Association and a board member of the Point Loma Optimist Club, Jacobs intends to remain active in both.
Plans are for A.L Jacobs and Sons to remain open until they no longer have inventory to sell. “We started a closing sale last month that will likely last through October,” said Jacobs, adding how long the sale lasts “will depend on what I have left, and what kind of reception I’m getting as far as people coming in.”
Previously at 2445 Truxtun Road in Liberty Station for a number of years, A.L. Jacobs and Sons eventually moved down the road to Point Loma Village, where the business continued to offer custom-designed jewelry and unique collections such as Rhythm designers' collection of diamond necklaces and pendants.
Over the years, A.L. Jacobs has done appraisals, jewelry, and watch repair as well as estate buying.
Family photos lined the Point Loma jewelry shop’s walls. A continuous video on the back wall depicted the jewelry-making process.
A certified gemologist, Jacobs graduated from the Gemological Institute of America. Twice a year, he would go to gem shows in Phoenix and Las Vegas to pick up specific things he needed, or to find things that would set his store apart from traditional jewelry stores.
Jacobs has done lots of jewelry appraisal work “mostly for insurance purposes.” He noted that the appraisal determines not only the insurance premium the customer pays but also the ceiling on the insurance company’s liability for having to replace it.
In closing, Jacobs noted: “I really have some beautiful (jewelry) pieces in here. I’d love to find a nice home for them.”