Luis Macias, founder of family-run West Sac jewelry business, dies
FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — DEC 28, 2011 —
BY DARYL FISHER
Note: Lou Macias, the founder and longtime owner of West Sacramento’s Crest Jewelers, passed away this past week. He was a remarkable man who through dedication and hard work created one of West Sacramento’s most highly-esteemed family businesses, which is still going strong after 45 years. He was also a wonderful husband and father and the following article, which I wrote way back in the 1990’s, is reprinted below in Lou’s memory.
Luis “Lou” Macias grew up in Tucumcari, New Mexico, and that is where his wife, Adelina, met him.
“Luis was different from all the other boys,” recalled Adelina. “He had ambition and drive and he didn’t mind hard work. I knew right away that he would make something of his life. Plus it didn’t hurt that he was also very good looking.”
While he was going to school, Luis worked as a projectionist in the local movie theater.
“That was a great job,” remembered Luis, “but I knew there wasn’t much of a future in it, so a few years after I got out of school I went to work with three of my uncles in the cement finishing business. The work was a lot harder than sitting around in a movie house, but I got to travel a lot and I ended up really loving that job, too.”
Always on the lookout for a new challenge, in 1957 Luis moved to Sacramento and decided to give the jewelry business a try.
“I worked as an apprentice for ten years at Werner Wholesale Jewelers on 15th and I streets in downtown Sacramento,” explained Luis, “and I learned mostly by watching and doing. The hours were long, but the work was always interesting, and I picked up things pretty fast. To be a good jeweler you have to stay up with all the new ways of doing your job. Things are always changing and you have to really enjoy those kinds of challenges if you want to succeed in any business, especially the jewelry business.”
In 1957 Luis decided to open up his own jewelry business on Merkley Avenue in West Sacramento.
“We decided to call it Crest Jewelers,” said Luis, “and if I had known how hard it was going to be in the beginning, I might have had second thoughts. We weren’t able to purchase a lot of product at first and we had a shoe-string budget, but with the help of a wonderful jeweler named Eli Kitade, who went out of his way to help me as much as he possibly could, the business kept slowly growing and before long we were doing very well.”
While Luis was working 15 to 18 hours a day, Adelina was at home taking care of their six growing children.
“West Sacramento turned out to be a great place to raise the children,” said Adelina. “The schools were very good and there were always lots of young people for my children to play with. I really enjoyed staying at home with the children. That was where I was needed and it was a joy to be with them.”
Luis is now semi-retired and Crest Jewelers, which is now located at 1296 West Capitol Avenue in the Safeway Shopping Center, is in the competent hands of two of Luis’s sons, Steven and Chris.
“I learned the jewelry business pretty much the same way my father did,” said Steven, “by watching and doing. When I was very young, I always enjoyed being at the jewelry store and I still do. Although we continue to serve people who have shopped here for decades, we also get new customers every single day and it’s fun to be part of a family business that has been going strong for over 30 years.”
Longtime West Sacramentan Barbara Moore said, “I went to school with Steve Macias and my family has been shopping at Crest Jewelers for as long as I can remember. The diamond in my wedding ring is from Crest, and not only do they always do excellent work, but when I walk in the door, they want to know everything that’s been going on with me and my family. They really care about their customers and that’s pretty rare these days. I love shopping at Crest Jewelers!”
Verna Ellis, whose late husband, Marvin, owned and operated Schirmer’s Jewelers in West Sacramento in the late 1960s and early 1970s said, “Marvin used to always say that Lou Macias was one of the best watchmakers in the whole state, and certainly the best he had ever seen. He said Lou wasn’t just a mechanic, but a real artist at what he did. Plus his entire family is so friendly and helpful and West Sacramento is so lucky to have such a fine jewelry store.”
“We’ve always been very proud of the work we do here,” said Luis. “It took more guts than brains to get it started, but God has been very good to me and my family.”
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