Fred Weber leaves leadership legacy as Kettering jewelry store closes

Weber Jewelers announced it will shuts its door forever. KARA DRISCOLL/STAFF
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Weber Jewelers announced it will shuts its door forever. KARA DRISCOLL/STAFF

For Fred Weber, a journey spanning almost half a century comes to a close as his business, Weber Jewelers, shuts its doors forever.

The family-owned independent jeweler, located at 3109 Far Hills Ave. in Kettering, will close down once the rest of the inventory sells. Weber said there’s about $5 million worth of product left, but it’s selling quickly. The inventory is up to 70 percent off, including vintage and estate items, timepieces, diamonds and other couture jewelry.

“We’ve always had the highest quality of jewelry possible,” Weber said.

Now, “Going Out of Business” signs clutter the front windows of the brick building that houses the iconic jewelry store. Inside, dimmed lights reflect on abandoned glass displays. Weber, who is 84 years old, said it is time to let the business go. He wants to fully retire, he said.

“I’ve had enough,” he said.

In 2013, the store hosted a “Fred Weber Retirement Sale,” and he planned on giving ownership to his daughter, Stephanie Weber. The transition was never completed as she decided she wanted to go in another direction with her career, he said.

Loyal customers received an in-mail invitation earlier this month to a special sale before the store closes.

The invitation, sent by Weber, said “I now realize it’s time … Time to fully retire and bring this joyful journey to an end. With that being said, I sadly announce Weber Jewelers is going out of business and closing its doors forever.”

Weber started his career before he owned his own business. In the 1930s, his father-in-law opened his first Mayor’s Jewelry shop in the Dayton area. Weber came to work there in 1955. In the early ’70s, he opened his first location of Weber Jewelers in Hamilton.

Throughout the years, Weber bought up other businesses including Royston’s, Spencer Jewelers and Colonial Jewelers. And for several years, Weber Jewelers was housed in the first floor of Kettering Tower in downtown Dayton. He said downtown was “the retail center of the community,” before businesses started heading out to the malls and suburbs. The business remained in the tower for around 20 years, and he said he should have moved it to where it is located today just a bit sooner.

“My heart got in the way of my head,” he said.

That passion for downtown Dayton drove him to become a well-known leader in the community. Weber served as a city commissioner, served as the board chairman of Wright State University and as the chair of the CityWide Corporation. He also was the director of the Dayton Foundation and work on the Dayton Chamber of Commerce board.

A brick building on Miami Valley Hospital’s main campus, the Fred E. Weber Center for Health Education, was named for him after his two-decade tenure with the hospital. His leadership in health care started in 1985 when he joined the board of SureCare Inc. In 1988, he became board chairman for the Miami Valley Hospital Board of Trustees.

That leadership has been grounded in the desire to give back. In 2012, he was given the Robert M. Shipley Award by the American Gem Society.

Now, Weber has started to pack up his office at the Kettering store, but some of his belongings remain where they have been for years.

A book, “The Legacy of Leadership,” sits on a shelf below a photo of Weber and his second wife, Judi, on their wedding day. Family and leadership are two values Weber still holds onto firmly and with conviction. Weber plans to spend more time with his six grandchildren, and will live in a small town in Arizona during the winters.

“I’ve lived a very fortunate life,” he said.

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