By Ken Severson
After nearly 140 years in business, J.C. Sipe Jewelers is going out of business.
The decision to close and liquidate isn’t because of lean times or stiff competition. Rather, timing was everything.
In March, owners Laura and Sam Sipe made the decision to retire and felt it was time to get out while they still had active lives.
“We have been blessed and grateful,” Sam Sipe said. “This has been an incredible gift, and it’s been successful for the family, but things have to change. Laura and I have given this a lot of thought, and we believe it’s time to retire.”
The jewelry store at 3000 E. 96th St. in Carmel was founded by Jacob C. Sipe in 1884 on Monument Circle in Indianapolis. It later moved to a location near Keystone Crossing before settling in its final spot in 2002.
“My grandfather, Jacob Corpany Sipe, was from a farm near Kokomo and left at (age) 18,” Sam Sipe said. “He started as an apprentice watchmaker for the owner and then at 20 became part owner and at 21 bought out the owner.”
After Sipe died in 1920, Sam’s father ran the business until the 1970s when Sam took over the operation.
J.C. Sipe Jewelers has always prided itself on its dedication to their clients. After Sam married Laura 34 years ago, both continued to work and operate in the store as on-site and later online owners, working with and educating buyers on gems.
The business also made and sold unique jewelry that couldn’t be bought anywhere else.
“It was custom fabricated and one-of-a-kind. Just a lot of special products,” Sam Sipe said. “We also repaired jewelry, too.”
Working on the custom items gave the Sipes a greater opportunity to work with clients. Many of these clients then became friends.
“That’s one thing we will really miss, the customers and friends who walked through our doors,” Sam Sipe said.
When the doors close, that will be it for J.C. Sipe Jewelers. There was no thought of selling the business to family members or outside investors. Sam Sipe said he would never sell the family name.
Sam Sipe has no set date for the day J.C. Sipe Jewelers finally close the door.
“Really, we’re not sure, but it will be before the end of the year,” Sam Sipe said. “It will be when the final piece of jewelry is sold, and we don’t know exactly what day that will be.”
Relatives and friends joked that Sam and Laura should stay open up until Feb. 14, 2024, so they can call it an even 140 years in business, but Sam said 139 was close enough.
“We’ll do fine by the end of the year,” Sam Sipe said. “We want to figure out what this next chapter in our lives has for us and what kind of new decisions to make for us that aren’t business related. We have no idea but we’re going to have fun doing it.”
Learn more at jcsipe.com.