Michael’s Jewelers in downtown Phoenix is ​​still going strong, 70 years later

A beloved jewelry store owner continues to bring diamonds and smiles to the people of Phoenix more than 70 years after the store opened in 1950.

It’s full of fun stories and memories over the years, and it does its best to keep up with the times while staying true to old traditions.

“I’m totally old school, I don’t even have a phone in my pocket,” said Michael Strong, owner of Michael’s Jewelers.

Much has changed in the more than 70 years that Strong has run his jewelry business on Central Avenue and Monroe Street in downtown Phoenix.

“I saw them build the Chase Bank building there. It was a long time ago,” Strong said.

He opened the shop in 1950, just after serving in World War II.

Now, at 102, he is still going strong.

“I eat well, I drink well, I laugh well, I play well, I do all the right things,” Strong said. “I’ll make you a ring if you want, fix your watch if you want.”

His store is one of the oldest businesses downtown, and the century-old owner has managed to keep things going even amid the pandemic.

“We don’t let more than one person in at a time unless it’s a couple who wants to come in,” he said.

It has many stories over the years.

“Sonny from Sonny and Cher, he said, ‘Honey, I’m just looking at watches.’ She said, ‘What do you need that for [for]you have 100 watches!'”

Plus, Strong certainly knows a thing or two when it comes to jewelry.

“Money is great, but you need a ton of it,” he said. “Diamond is used in almost all kinds of tools because it is so hard it can cut anything.”

But what he’s best at — and known for — is making people happy.

“If someone leaves without a smile, they’ll come back and we’ll put one on them,” he said.

And that smile is priceless.

“Everyone asks me why you don’t retire,” he said. “I am retired. I do what I want to do, I enjoy it and I will do it as long as I can!”

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