By Michelle Caceres

Joe and Brenda Martin have perfected the art of longevity. The couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in June. If that milestone isn’t impressive enough, their business, Martin’s Jewelers, a landmark in the Brandon area, is celebrating 60 years in business.

Joe’s dad, Freddie Martin, started the business in their home on Parsons as a disabled veteran in 1954. Joe took over the business 44 years ago after his father’s death and from those humble beginnings (as a simple watch repair business) Martin’s Jewelers came to be known as the most successful and trusted jeweler in the Tampa Bay area, earning Brandon’s Best Jeweler for 18 years.

The company’s staying power is reflected in the dedication of its staff. Employees like Don Korte (with 25 years of service), Rob Comfort (35 years of service), Cheryl McCoy (14 years of service), Michael Martin (21 years of service) and Store Manager Ed McAuley (seven years of service) offer exceptional service and knowledge to customers. Recently retired employee Dotty Ledford worked for the company for 33 years.

In all, Martin’s Jewelers has more than two centuries of combined experience in the jewelry business.

“We treat our employees like family,” said Brenda. “We don’t have a large turnover at all.”

The Martin’s son Jeff and daughter Pam Simmons also work at the store.

Martin’s Jewelers is located at 664 Oakfield Dr. in the Atlantic Village, at the corner of Kings Ave. and Oakfield Dr., and specializes in not only jewelry sales but all aspects of jewelry repair from resizing rings and resetting diamonds and gemstones to polishing and supplying new clasps.

With four full-time jewelers in-house, Martin’s Jewelers also creates custom pieces, from simple rings to the most extravagant works of art. Recent pieces include an intricate gold motorcycle with wheels that spin and a working kickstand and a shark pendant inlaid with gemstones.

Joe said he has seen an increase in the number of customers requesting custom jewelry. “People are bringing pieces that belonged to parents or grandparents and then creating new pieces for themselves or their kids,” he said.

Jeweler Don Korte is creating a one-of-a-kind ring for repeat customers Josh and Chrissy Smith using Josh’s grandmother’s diamonds.

“Don made my engagement ring and he did an excellent job,” said Chrissy. “When someone says they need a jeweler, we are quick to recommend Martin’s.”

Martin’s Jewelers is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m.–6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Call 689-8124 or visit www.martins-jewelers.com.