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John J. Segner opened the doors of his jewelry store as John J. Segner Jewelers in Fredericksburg, Texas in 1937, having already come a long way since contracting polio at the age of two. Though polio was a very serious disease in those days, John survived it needing only leg braces. Always good with his hands, as he got older he narrowed his choice of careers to the two that most interested him, typewriter repair and jewelry repair.
Jewelry seemed to offer more variety, so John was apprenticed to E. W. Walters in Fredericksburg. He soon became not only proficient in jewelry repair and design, but an expert in repairing radios, small appliances and other items in common use in the days both before and after the Depression. People didn't buy say, new radios or toasters back then. Jeweler John Segner soon become known as "the man who could fix anything" and the repair business would become a strong part of John J. Segner Jewelers.
After completing his apprenticeship, he quickly began building his business through hard work, earning the trust and respect of the community. And, while he was becoming known as the man who could fix anything, his wife Vernell was quietly taking on the responsibilities of customer service, sales and accounting. Not a glamorous part of any business, all are critical to its success. Vernell also brought the delicate art of restringing jewelry to the business and still worked in that area until just a few years ago when she turned 82. A talented musician, John played trumpet in a German band and that experience led Segners to become the town music store where John repaired musical instruments for the local high school band and stocked and sold the parts of musical instruments that need replacing fairly often.
The Segners also brought the first bridal registry to Fredericksburg, with one whole wall of the store eventually dedicated to weddings and brides....John remained in the business until he was 80 years old and left behind his strong values of customer service, highlighting his career with the 2002 Man of the Year award given by the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce. As John's son Sammy was growing up, he became fascinated by the intricacies of watches. While attending watchmakers and jewelry repair school, he found both a talent and a passion for watch repair. Joining the business in 1973, Sammy gradually took over the repair of both watches and jewelry.
Sammy's daughter, Jennifer Segner Spies, became the third generation of Segners in the jewelry business, studying at the Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology with an emphasis on gemology and winning its "Swest Top Jeweler" award. She is also a Jewelers of America Certified Bench Jeweler.
The business was incorporated in1980. The name was changed to Segner's Jewelers Inc. and an expansion and remodeling of the business followed. In 1988 Sammy proceeded with his long-planned goal of a second location near Austin, and Segner's Jewelers in Oak Hill was opened in the little community southwest of Austin, operated by John's son-in-law Bruce Pokorny and Bruce's sister, Susan.
Bruce Pokorny studied fine arts at the University of Texas and is an accomplished watercolor artist. In addition, his artistic talents quickly showed they could be transferred to jewelry in his beautiful designs for new jewelry as well as the design of pieces for resetting jewels from older pieces. He also proved to have an eye and hand for the close work of repairs on jewelry.
After 21 years, the Oak Hill store was moved to a new space a few miles west in Bee Cave, Texas. In a stand-alone building next to the HEB store and between Starbucks and a yogurt shop, the new "Austin" location is very easy to find.
Segner's Jewelers is now operated by Sammy and Jennifer, who continue the same values of honesty, integrity and hard work that were instilled in them by their father grandfather and built Segner's reputation.
Segner's Jewelers is a member of the Independent Jeweler Organization (IJO), the largest jewelry buying group in the world. The IJO membership gives us the opportunity to make extraordinary diamond and jewelry purchases.
A special thank you to the customers of Segner's Jewelers Inc. for their business and loyalty over the years. We look forward to assisting our customers, old and new, in the years to come.
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