Aebischer’s Jewelry was founded in 1928 by Swiss immigrants, John and Johanna Aebischer, seeking a better life for themselves. The couple came over by boat in 1927 while Johanna was 5 months pregnant with their first child. John had been working for ten years in a Swiss watchmaking factory, where he had developed his skills as a fine watchmaker. Johanna also worked in a factory that made jewels for watches. Deciding to leave for America, John asked his boss to write a letter of recommendation so that he could hand it to any future employer as a reference. Once arriving to America, even though his tools were stolen and they could not speak a word of English, they traveled to Lowellville where they knew other Swiss families had settled.
John had heard how busy the steel mills were in the Mahoning County and was told by a Swiss friend who had traveled once to the Steel Valley, “those guys would need their watches worked on. I’m sure you’d have plenty of work.”
Working for about six months for another jeweler, John decided to find a small place to rent and set up shop. He found that location in a covered over ally on Bridge Street in Struthers that had a rear wall that enclosed the back and a front wall with a bay window and a door facing what was then, a bustling main street on State Route 616. To get his first customers, he set up his watch bench in the bay window and took his own watch apart and re-assembled it, several times a day until finally someone came in and said, “I see you work on watches. Mine isn’t working correctly. Can you fix it?” So from those humble beginnings, in April of 1928, John and Johanna began what has become a four-generation, full service jewelry store.
While servicing watches and clocks for years, they also began offering a jewelry repair service. Eventually they would buy watches and jewelry to sell, thus becoming a full service retail jewelry store.
The business was turned over to their son, Harold Aebischer in 1967. The business remained in the same location for 48 years until May of 1976, when they moved the business to its present location in the center of Poland Village in the Town One Square Plaza.
A few years before moving the business to Poland, Harold’s son Doug came into the business, learning the watch and clock repair trade. Shortly after being in Poland and after attending YSU, Doug expanded his gemology and bench repair education through the Gemological Institute of America where he earned his Graduate Gemologist degree. Doug, along with his wife Karen, have owned the store since 1996, when Harold retired.
Doug and Karen are very pleased and proud to have their sons Adam and Alex come into the business, making them the 4th generation! Adam came in January of 2009 and Alex in January of 2016.
Aebischer’s serves not only Poland, but many of the surrounding communities as well. With the expanding uses of modern technology, such as email, digital photography, and texting, the staff maintains great communication with their customers.
Aebischer’s still offers watch repair and jewelry repair, some still on sight and some through outside trade shops. They also offer a full bridal department, custom design, remounts, and several watch lines, including Oris which is an independently owned Swiss watch line featuring all mechanically made watches still made in its original factory since 1904.
It starts with Swiss immigrant John Aebischer opening his small, family-owned jewelry store in Struthers, neighboring Youngstown, in 1928 and spans four generations.
In the early 1950s, John’s son, Harold, joined the family business after serving in the military. By 1967, he assumed ownership of the store and moved it to its current location in Poland in 1976.
Today, Harold’s son, Doug, sits at his grandfather’s original workbench, preserving the family tradition of providing the same high level of craftsmanship and jewelry expertise.
And the legacy continues with Adam and Alex Aebischer joining their parents in the family business. They will continue the personalized, professional service while staying up to date with the industry.
Getting to Know Us
Doug and Karen Aebischer
Customers come to Aebischer’s as much for our people as they do for our jewelry. They like the fact that our staff doesn’t work on commission, so there’s absolutely no pressure to buy. Customers appreciate that.
“Without these wonderful people working with us, using their God-given gifts and talents, Aebischer’s would not be the same. Our most valuable asset is not all the diamonds and jewelry, it’s our dedicated staff." – Doug & Karen Aebischer
The fourth generation of the Aebischer family jewelry legacy officially began in 2009 when Adam Aebischer, son of owners Doug and Karen, joined the family business. Stemming from his passion of working with his hands and fixing things, Adam decided to give the jewelry industry a try. After repairing jewelry, working with fine timepieces and studying fine diamonds, he has developed a passion for the jewelry industry and has never looked back.
Adam has received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Youngstown State University, has his certification in bench work and gemstone setting from The New Approach School for Jewelers, and is currently pursuing his Graduate Gemologist certification from the Gemological Institute of America.
“I appreciate all things mechanical, which has fueled my passion for fine Swiss watches and the benchwork in the store. I like the relaxed atmosphere as well as the opportunity to interact with our customers, especially educating them on fine diamonds.”
Like father, like mother, like brother… Alex is proud to join his family at Aebischer’s Jewelry. With passions in art and creative expression, he holds a high respect for the quality and design of craftsmanship and personal meaning.
“It’s truly amazing recognizing the value of something as precious and intricate as jewelry. The sentimental value can be seen in the emotional connection people have with it, and that is really special. Jewelry can last a lifetime, so making a positive impact and being part of a legacy built upon the relationships of honesty, trust and integrity is a great feeling.”
Betty Jo Christy
Betty Jo spent 22 years at Stringer’s in Girard before bringing her expertise to Aebischer’s.
“I love when I see a customer’s reaction to the repairs and custom work we do for them, particularly with heirloom and keepsake pieces that they’ve entrusted us with. No one can replace the memories these pieces represent, and working on them is an honor we don’t take lightly.”
Cindy is a Mahoning Valley native who works multiple sides of the business, both serving customers and managing inventory.
“When I show a customer that perfect necklace, bracelet, or ring, their smile tells me I’ve done my job.”
Wendy has a long history of extraordinary customer service in retail.
“My role and my passion are the same: to make everyone’s visit to Aebischer’s an enjoyable one.”
“I enjoy hearing the sentimental stories of jewelry, making each piece even more beautiful than visibly seen."