Husband-and-wife owners Karl and Bridget Doescher run Then and Now Jewelry in Blue Springs.

About the business: Then and Now Jewelry, 623 N.W. Mock Ave.,Blue Springs. Phone: 228-1270

Owners Karl and Bridget Doescher:  It may be safe to say that the last business anyone would want to open in the middle of a recession would be a jewelry store.

But Karl Doescher isn’t like most people.

Born in Iowa and a resident of the Kansas City area since he was 6 years old, Doescher knew early on that he wanted to work in this business.

Seventeen years ago he started with Helzberg Diamonds, working part-time and then full-time as a salesman at the Bannister Mall location. He spent the next couple of years learning the trade, building his resume: sales and then as an assistant manager and acting manager at other retail jewelers.

He and his wife moved to Illinois, where he managed a store.

“That’s where I really started to learn this business,” he said Tuesday. “I learned everything, especially how to build good relationships.”

Moving back to the Kansas City area, Doescher continued his career for about six years, polishing his skills as though it were a diamond.

Then in October 2008, his wife suggested that he open his own store.

“She said I wasn’t getting any younger,” he said. “And, yeah, I knew I’d always wanted my own store.”

One month later he had it.

“It was a very fast turnaround – we lived here in October, getting it ready.”

That was nearly two years ago, and Doescher says that business is good. Really.

“Bad economy or not, we are doing well,” he said. “We were at the beginning of the year a little behind than where we were last year, but it’s been picking up. I don’t know if that’s a sign of the economy recovering, but …”

But how does Doescher and his family make it work?

What’s unique about the business: One important component that’s conspicuously absent at Then and Now Jewelry may be the reason the Doeschers are making it work: they have no staff besides themselves.

“We have very low overhead, which helps tremendously,” he said, adding that he doesn’t pay payroll tax, insurance, worker’s compensation or salaries.

Except during the summer months, he and his wife work the store together. But even during the summer months the business is often a family affair, with their youngest children helping.

“I think this business is as close as anyone can get to what they call family owned and family operated,” he said.

Doescher said he would like to expand in the future, maybe relocate. But because its current location is off the beaten path, as they say, now may not be the best time.

“People are starting to find us more and more, so now’s not the best time,” he said.

If you go and special deals: The store offers a wide variety of jewelry and related accessories, as well as repair services. He also purchases estate, or used, jewelry and will offer trade for new purchases.

“Our Charles-Hubert watches are 25 percent off right now,” Doescher said.

For September and October, all diamond jewelry purchases are 25 percent off. For watch batteries, Doescher said he’s competitive with other stores. There are coupons out there for half off watch batteries, and if you mention that you read this article – the same discount applies.

Store hours: M-F 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments can also be made prior to opening and closing. Please call to make arrangements.