Although he’s been in the jewelry business for more than 65 years, Willa Dickens (center) still goes to work at Herteen & Stocker Jewelers six days a week.

“He’s 86-and-a-half years old and still comes in every day,” said Terry Dickens, Willa’s son and co-owner of the business. “He does the buying and appraisals.”

Herteen & Stocker Jewelers, voted 2015’s Best Jewelry Store, has been a fixture in downtown Iowa City since 1947, when Bill Herteen and Walter Stocker opened the business.

Willa Dickens began working at the store as a watchmaker a couple years later. After working there for many years, he and Bob Lispus bought the business, but retained the Herteen & Stocker name. Willa’s sons, Terry (right) and Tim (left), joined him as partners in 1994 after Mr. Lispus retired.

“As a family-owned business, one of the owners is always here,” Terry Dickens said of the trust the business has garnered in the community.

Terry’s daughter, Kate Dickens, became the third generation of the Dickens family to work at the store when she joined the staff as a salesperson four years ago. The store also employs two full-time jewelers and three salespeople.

Herteen & Stocker has one of largest selections of engagement rings in the Corridor, Terry Dickens said. And although business has been a “rollercoaster” in dealing with the recession and how people spend their discretionary money, “people still buy engagement rings and anniversary gifts,” he said.

Along with its customer service and unique selection of jewelry, watches and gifts, the store also benefits from its prime location on the Pedestrian Mall in downtown Iowa City.

“We are very lucky being right downtown,” Mr. Dickens said.

The business recently revamped its website, allowing customers to order jewelry online. This appeals to the younger generation who are interested in the finer things in life.

“There has been a big influx of younger people buying jewelry,” Mr. Dickens said.

– Angela Holmes

TIMES ON BEST OF LIST:
1 Time Best Jeweler