Snyder Jewelers, and the Snyder family, have an extensive history in Longmont. Three generations have run the business, starting in 1948 at the initial Main Street shop and continuing through to the store’s current location on Ken Pratt Boulevard.
With 73 years as a community jeweler, things get sentimental. Engaged couples who come to select their wedding rings have told current owner, Linda Snyder-Crockett, their grandparent or great-grandparent purchased a ring from the store.
The store also honors families as it helps them create heirloom pieces, which is one of Snyder-Crockett’s favorite parts of the job.
“We repurpose the jewelry, but we work hard to keep the spirit of the original pieces and help the next generation to love and cherish their heirlooms for tomorrow,” she said.
The Snyder family’s roots in Longmont go at least as far back as 1902, when Snyder-Crockett’s grandmother was born during a day trip from the family home in Longmont to Rocky Ford. Crockett, her grandmother, and her father attended Central School. When her own children were of school age, even though she lived in another part of town, Snyder-Crockett considered open enrolling them there, too.
The family’s connection to the Longmont business community is also long-lived. Prior to opening the first location, Snyder-Crockett’s grandfather worked on Main Street as a watchmaker at Marshall’s Optical and Jewelry. She said keeping connected to the business community has been something the family has always done.
“My dad and I both served on the Chamber of Commerce board of directors. He was even a Jaycee, a Lion’s Club member, a Mason and a deacon at the church.”
Snyder-Crockett has continued her father’s spirit of community involvement. In addition to work with the Chamber, she co-founded and served on the board of A Women’s Work, and spent six years on the board of TRU Community Care.
As the store’s location, family ownership, and what the public expected from jewelers changed over the years, Snyder Jewelers evolved. When it first opened, it held between 1,500 and 2,000 square feet of space on Main Street. Shortly after that, Snyder-Crockett’s grandfather began to do watch repair out of his Bowen Street home, and her father worked from the shop focusing on jewelry design, repair, restoration and other tasks.
Over time, the store moved to various locations on Main Street and then, in 1988, to Francis Street, as Snyder-Crockett took over after her father’s retirement. Stores through this time carried everything from statement jewelry to wedding and engagement ring sets, crystal, silver and bridal registry items.
Snyder Jewelers moved to its current location on Ken Pratt Boulevard in 2001. The matching engagement sets and gift items are now gone, along with the smaller store footprint. These are replaced by more than 2,500 square feet, and 6,000 inventory items. Wedding rings are now made from a range of items including traditional metals, tungsten and titanium. These things weren’t fashionable in the post-war years of the store’s earliest days.
The location also is perfectly positioned to draw in customers. Snyder-Crockett said that “in the first 17 months we were there, we counted 3,000 new names that we found we’d added as a customer.”
All of the years in business in Longmont comes with its share of stories. Erik Mason, curator of history at the Longmont Museum, found research that showed Snyder cast several gold coins in honor of Longmont’s 1971 Centennial. One of them is still in the Longmont Museum.
Mason also found evidence that in 1974 the store featured a promotional “gemball” machine. As he explained it, “Customers could place a special token into a regular gumball machine at the store, which was filled with items ranging from small prizes to a $1300 diamond.”
When asked her favorite stories, Snyder-Crockett mentioned the company’s 50th anniversary when it brought the Atocha exhibit, a showcase of items found from a sunken Spanish galleon, to Longmont. She said adults still tell her about how their visit to the exhibit was a prized childhood memory.
Such events illustrate how deep Snyder Jewelers’ connection to the community runs, Snyder-Crocket said.
“Our customers have been our neighbors, our church family, our fellow Rotarians. It’s working with our friends and family. In the end, I think you do your best for those people. Always.”