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Happy retirement to the man with a heart of gold

Kevin Smith | Man With Heart Of Gold

How do we even START to celebrate Kevin Smith as he retires from Bremer Jewelry? Over the past 30 years, Kevin has been a key ingredient to the Bremer Jewelry family recipe with his passion for craftsmanship and deep desire to bring every and any customer’s idea to life. After 48 years in the jewelry industry and three decades at Bremer Jewelry, our family is sure to miss this gem of a man… a man with a heart of gold.

“What makes Kevin special?” A question posed to his teammates as they reflect on the legacy he leaves in the DNA of the company. Out of the 25 current employees, Kevin has been at Bremer longer than everyone (except the owner, Ronda.) If you ask the goldsmiths, they will tell you that his dedication to his customer is totally unmatched. He is the most devoted sales associate they have ever met… always seeing things from the guest's perspective and making sure every single detail of a custom made piece of jewelry was exactly perfect. If you ask his teammates on the sales floor, they’ll tell you what makes Kevin special is the standard that he holds himself to. Always dressed to the nines, incredibly self-educated on the latest products, completely committed to doing the right thing for everyone involved. You ask his boss? “My favorite thing about Kevin is his unwavering sense of honor. If he says he will do something, he will do it to the very best of his ability, “ says Ronda. 

Thirty years makes a lot of memories and most might find it hard to pick one favorite. But you ask any one of the Bremer family what Kevin’s is… and you’ll get one of two answers: diving The Atocha or visiting the diamond cutters in Antwerp, Belgium.

Nuestra Señora de Atocha was a Spanish treasure galleon and the most widely known vessel of a fleet of ships that sank in a hurricane off the Florida Keys in 1622. At the time of her sinking, Nuestra Señora de Atocha was heavily laden with copper, silver, gold, tobacco, gems, and indigo. Beginning in 1969, American treasure hunters Mel Fisher, Finley Ricard and a team of sub-contractors, funded by investors and others in a joint venture, Treasure Salvors, Inc., searched the sea bed for Nuestra Señora de Atocha for sixteen and a half years. In 2014, Nuestra Señora de Atocha was added to the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most valuable shipwreck to be recovered, as it was carrying roughly 40 tonnes of gold and silver, and 71 lbs of emeralds.

And our Kevin Ray got to dive the shipwreck and hunt for treasure!

“My favorite memory of Kevin was our trip to Key West to dive the Atocha. He took personal time off work to be PADI certified so he’d be able to hunt for buried treasure from one of the most famous shipwrecks in modern times. The look on his face when he brought up artifacts from the bottom of the ocean was priceless.”

Another incredible memory of Kevin’s? Being in the top 10 sales associates for Hearts On Fire… IN THE WORLD… TWO YEARS IN A ROW! This achievement won him two consecutive trips to Antwerp, Belgium (with his wife Cassandra), the Diamond Capital of the World, experiences he will never forget.

Although the Bremer family is excited to celebrate Kevin’s well-deserved retirement, there are several things we will miss about having him around. Just ask his deskmate, Beth, “I don't think I can pick just one thing I will miss about Kevin, but what I will miss the most is that first hour in the morning before everyone else gets in. That's when he tells me stories and teaches me things about whatever I'm working on. It’s my favorite part of the whole day and I’m not sure how I am going to adjust to life without it.”

As for the biggest lesson Kevin has taught us all?

“He has taught all of us so many things. But loyalty is the main thing that he has taught over the years through his example. He shows us every day how to live out loyalty whether it’s at work, at home, and in life.”

“There is so much! Everything from professionalism, to product knowledge, to drawing lesson and custom design inspiration. Kevin has shaped so much of the jewelry professional I am today.”

“Perseverance and professionalism. I know I'll never encounter another co-worker that cares as much about his customer and their experience as much as Kevin.”

And as for Kevin himself… He’s looking forward to filling his days with fishing, woodworking, and spending time with his wife, daughter, and friends. But the family at Bremer Jewelry will have a heck of a time adjusting to life without our man with a heart of gold, a man who gave 30 years of his life to creating and preserving memories. It’s impossible to count the number of guests he’s helped. But as much as we know their lives wouldn’t be the same without him, ours won’t be either.