Cumicek Jewelers to close its doors

0814sey-CumiceksKathy (Cumicek) Smits stands behind a jewelry case that she hopes to empty during Kathy’s Retirement Sale at Cumicek Jewlers. The sale will run through October then she will lock the doors for good. – Photo by Keith Skenandore
A staple in the downtown Seymour community is closing its doors after 70-plus years in business.
Cumicek Jewelers is having a retirement sale through October and the family owned business will come to an end.
Kathy (Cumicek) Smits, started her own jewelry business in 1977 at the current location, 126 S. Main Street.
Smits, who turned 70 in July along with her husband Mike, 64, figured they were old enough to both retire. He is an employee at Lakeside Foods in Manitowoc.
When asked why retire now, she replied, “I’m old enough. We’ll be retiring within the year.
“Why not now?”
She said Mike came home on Tax Day and he had been to the retirement banker.
“We’re all set, let’s go,” he told Kathy. “Start wrapping it up.”
She said she is ready to retire.
“It’s been a good ride and I’m ready. It’s not sad at all. This is a celebration.”
Smits said this will be the first time after she closes her doors that Seymour will not have a jewelry store since 1906.
Her father Charles, along with her mother Julia, bought the jewelry store from Charles Leinter in 1943. Charles opened Cumicek at 245 N. Main Street. He passed away in 1964 and Julia ran the store until 1972.
“I (along with her brother John) was raised at 245 N. Main Street,” Smits said.
In a book written and compiled by Black Creek resident Lynn Koenigs, entitled “My Corner of the County,” she published stories, news articles and pictures from the Town of Cicero, Town of Maine, Black Creek, Seymour and Nichols, and a few other areas of Outagamie County.
In Volume 1, Koenigs interviewed Smits in August 2009. Titled, “What Happened at 245 North Main Street. She talked about the transition of her running the business.
Her mother sold the store to Bud Rignon who was in business for five years. A local Seymour banker asked Kathy if she would be interested in returning to Seymour to start a jewelry store.
The book wrote that Kathy was working in Shawano for 10 years and that she was ready to come back.
“I tried to buy the business back from Bud Rignon,” Smits said in the book. “In fact, I paid down earnest money. I could see myself living upstairs where I had grown up. The deal didn’t work out and the money was returned.”
She got some advice from her father Charles.
The book states, “My dad always said that the best spot in Seymour for a business was on the corner of Main Street and Wisconsin.
Smits talked to Dr. V. Hittner who said she could have the back half of what once was the Drug Store.
“I felt that was enough room,” she said.
The book said she started working in her own jewelry business. She bought her dad’s case, along with two watch benches from a real estate company.
“I hope to finish out my days here,” reported the book.
She said there would be nobody who would want the jewelry store as they contemplated retirement.
“There are so many jewelers who have tried that,” Smits said. “There’s nobody out there. There are no independents left. It’s all the big chain stores.”
So long to the independent store Cumicek Jewelers and happy retirement to Kathy and Mike Smits.
Thank you for your business!
0814sey-CumicekFamily copyLeft to right, employee Dave Wilson, Kathy (Cumicek) Smits, John and Julia Cumicek, stand behind a jewelry case at the 245 N. Main Street location. – Photo courtesy of “My Corner of the County”
0814sey-CumicekDad copy Charles Cumicek