Riddle's Jewelry celebrates 60 years in business

Riddle's Jewelry started up in Webster, South Dakota back in 1959 and it's still going strong...
Riddle's Jewelry started up in Webster, South Dakota back in 1959 and it's still going strong today. (KOTA TV) (KOTA)
Published: Dec. 2, 2019 at 8:46 AM CST
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Most small businesses hope to make it to 5 or even 10 years in the area, but one jewelry store is blowing everyone out of the water, celebrating 60 years.

Riddle's Jewelry was started in Webster in 1959 by Jesse and Joyce Riddle.

"My parents initially started out trying to get a loan from their local bank and they turned them down. They wouldn't loan them the $2,000," said Riddle's Jewelry President of Manufacturing Tamara Riddle.

So Jesse and Joyce gathered up their courage and drove to Chicago to meet with the president of a jewelry company.

"It was a little crazy at the time. They were in their early 20s. My dad used to always say he didn't know if this gentleman felt sorry for them or if he was intrigued by them, but in the end, he actually gave them $10,000 worth of jewelry to start their business," said Tamara.

It was all on a consignment base, so the couple didn't have to pay for the jewelry until they sold it. That was the start of Riddle's Jewelry.

After starting things up in Webster, the two moved to Sisseton where Joyce taught English. They lived off her salary for a few years, traveling back and forth between the two towns to manage stores.

Then, things started moving along and a partnership was formed with other family members. The rest is history.

"We just kept on growing in the retail and then we got into the manufacturing in the late 70s, early 80s. [We] started manufacturing Black Hills Gold and then we started making diamond jewelry," said Riddle's Jewelry CEO and President Brett Riddle.

When they got into making jewelry out of Black Hills Gold, the operations side of things was moved out to Rapid City.

"There was a law passed that said if you want to make Black Hills Gold and call it that, it must be done out in this area, which makes sense. It made sense to us. We had a cousin that moved out here and started on a very small scale. Then, in 1989, we actually moved into the present building we're in now," said Tamara.

That present building is located at 2707 Mount Rushmore Road in Rapid City.

"I'm very proud of what my family has done," said Riddle's Jewelry Co-Founder Joyce Riddle.

The family then started buying up properties left and right.

"We were always Mount Rushmore Gold, but then we acquired Rushmore Gold, South Dakota Gold and did a partnership with Landstrom's and then we also just recently acquired the assets of Black Hills Gold by Coleman," said Brett.

The company also hires some great employees, with one gentleman there for over 41 years, if not longer. Everyone has the same end goal in mind.

"We want to see the company successful, not only for us but for our employees that work for us," said Brett.

That same sentiment echoing through employees at the outlet and stores around Rapid City.

"The name and community not only in Rapid City and South Dakota but the whole Midwest. It's a great name, great company, people love to shop here because they always get taken care of," said Riddle's Jewelry Assistant ManagerJordan Walter.

They love the chance to put the sparkle and smile in someone's eye because after all, they do work in the love business.

"It's a good occasion if someone comes in here for the most part, so getting engaged, buying a piece of jewelry, it's always an anniversary or something, so it's always fun being involved in a good situation," said Walter.

With plans to always help people's dreams come true.

"We know before she gets the ring, we're sworn to secrecy. We're just part of people's lives when they pick out this beautiful piece of jewelry," said Brett.

It's those items that stay in a household for generations.

"We have people bring rings that they bought from my father back in the 70s and it has a story behind it," said Brett.

Staying in the family not only applies to customers, but also to those in the business. Three generations are involved in some way at Riddle's Jewelry with hopes to continue that trend for more to come. The products can also be found in over 60 stores in eight states.

Everyone is just happy they've been a staple in the community and state for 60 years, with plans to go at least another 60 more.

"I'm very happy and very fortunate," said Joyce.

With holiday shopping here for a few weeks, it's a great time to get something customized or find the perfect ring with Riddle's Jewelry's exclusive 90-facet Noventa diamond.

If you want more information about how their jewelry is made, you can set up a factory tour at the outlet in Rapid City. Give them a call at 605-343-7099. It's a unique way to spend the holidays with family and friends.