“I’m not going to cry,” Louise Hebert said. But her eyes glistened with tears as she spoke about the end of an era. It was the first day of Hebert Jewelers’ going-out-of-business sale.
Hebert’s father-in-law, John Hebert, opened his jewelry store in downtown Milford in 1953 and Hebert Jewelers has been run by family members ever since. Specializing in fine jewelry, redesigning and creating custom pieces, Hebert Jewelers is much more than a local jewelry store. Their reputation for extraordinary service has attracted customers from other communities.
West Haven resident Sheila Katz was chatting with Hebert's husband, Joe Hebert.
“I’m a long-time customer,” she said. “People come here from all over. I don’t know what I’m going to do without this place.”
The very deep discounts attracted regular and new customers on Wednesday, the first day of the sale.
Joe and Louise Hebert are more than merchants in Milford’s downtown. They have been active in the Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Business Association for years. They participated in and led promotional events and sponsored fund-raising events run by local charities. In 2008, the Heberts received the Milford Chamber of Commerce Business Persons of the Year award for their outstanding work and leadership in the Milford business community.
“That’s the hardest part,” Louise Hebert said. “The work I’ve done in the community is a passion for me as the jewelry business is a passion of Joe. It’s been a pleasure and an honor to serve.”
She added that, although they will no longer be business owners in town, “our voice will be heard,” as residents of Milford.
The question of “why now” was raised. Several reasons converged to convince the Heberts that this was the time to close.
“There are factors specific to the jewelry business,” Louise Hebert explained. “The price of gold and diamonds, and the new state luxury tax” were important considerations.
“We could see it’s not a trend that’s going away,” she said. “We decided we need to stop now.”
Future plans are not formed yet, but the Heberts are looking at options. For now, they are just going to focus on the sale at 14 Broad St. Selling the store to a new owner was never considered.
“We promised Joe’s father that the store would always stay in the family,” Louise Hebert said. “We will close on or before October 15, depending on how quickly we sell the merchandise.”