Skip to main content Navigation

Articles and News

The Spirit Of G. Thrapp Jewelers Lives On In Petite G. Jewelers |  March 02, 2016 (0 comments)


Indianapolis, IN—As the ongoing drumbeat of jewelry store closing announcements grows louder, more and more Boomer-age jewelers are facing the same critical dilemma: what to do with the store when it’s time to retire. At the recent Centurion Jewelry Show, keynote speaker Marcus Lemonis of The Profit put the issue front and center, while National Jeweler’s Michelle Graff wrote an insightful editorial about the demographic shift driving so many closings and Jeff Gordon of The Gordon Co. bluntly lists the limited options jewelers have: if they don’t have children to take over, it’s either close or sell the business.

But there is one other option, and that’s to groom a top employee to take over and let the business evolve, which is exactly what happened at G. Thrapp Jewelers in Indianapolis’s historic Meridian Kessler and Butler Tarkington neighborhoods.

G. Thrapp Jewelers’ closing announcement last fall rattled the jewelry industry as much as its own loyal customer base, as owner Gary Thrapp was instrumental in the urban revival of his once-rundown neighborhood into a hip, chic shopping district.

Luckily, the business will live on at Petite G. Jewelers, owned by Thrapp’s longtime employee and protégé Dana Friedman. Friedman (below), who served as G. Thrapp’s chief buyer, launched Petite G. on March 1.

The Centurion spoke to a breathless Friedman the day her store officially launched.

“Our customers have always come to us when they were looking for truly unique, special jewelry pieces and also wanted to be treated like friends or family. We wanted to create an intimate setting that would carry on that tradition of fantastic service and unique jewelry in a wonderfully familiar location and environment.”

Thrapp officially retired at the end of January, and the business has been operating as Petite G. since then, but is going through a remodel and rebranding, Friedman told The Centurion.

“How do I put a value on Gary’s name, his store, his brand? Since I’m not a family member, I decided not to take on his platform. Besides, in my heart, I wanted a smaller boutique than G. Thrapp,” she says. Petite G. pays homage to its G. Thrapp roots but is forging its own identity.

Whereas G. Thrapp had been a masculine space with a bit of a nautical theme, Petite G. will be more contemporary and feminine, with touches like delicate chain chandeliers and sconces, and a fireplace with a mantel over which Friedman has commissioned a local artist to create a special painting of a woman bedecked in jewelry.

Contemporary, feminine touches such as this chain chandelier will be incorporated into Petite G., which is in the midst of a major remodel, below.

All client data from G. Thrapp remains with Petite G., which will continue to target and serve both existing and new clientele with designer, estate, and one-of-a-kind jewelry, appraisal, repair, and watch rebuild and repair. And it’s not just the name that offers continuity, it’s the man behind the name: Gary Thrapp is still involved.

“Gary loves estate and period jewelry and he’s going to continue buying from important people in the city. As he will tell you, he wants to go treasure hunting but he never had time to do that as a retail store owner,” says Friedman. Thrapp will work part-time in the store in addition to his role as estate treasure hunter.

Friedman, meanwhile, will focus on the one-of-a-kind, fashion, cutting-edge, and locally made artisan jewelry she loved in her G. Thrapp buying days. Some of the brands she carries are Lika Behar, Beverley K bands, Beny Sofer, Norman Covan, Jude Frances, Megan Thorne, Cynthia Ann, and local designers Samantha Louise and Bebe & Tay, a fashion jewelry collection created by Barbi Thrapp, Gary’s wife. Initial marketing plans for the new store include heavy print, and of course social media, and Friedman plans to ramp up digital marketing efforts as time progresses.

The scaled-back Petite G. has five employees—including Friedman and Thrapp part-time—down from the 17 or so that worked at G. Thrapp. Thrapp also still owns the building, making him Friedman’s landlord. Friedman stresses that Petite G. is a startup—with her own skin invested heavily in the game—not a buyout of G. Thrapp.

Says Friedman, “We want to carry on the tremendous relationship we have established with our clients over the years.  And perhaps the most important tradition Petite G. will carry on is ‘trust.’”

Share This:

Leave a Comment:

Human Check