Olentangy Valley News

Thefts don't deter downtown gem

Kimberly's Diamond Corner brushes off break-ins, marks 25th year in Powell

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CHRIS PARKER/THISWEEKNEWS
Chelsea Norris (left) and Kimberly Renninger of Kimberly's Diamond Corner, 1 N. Liberty St. in downtown Powell, are celebrating the store's 25th anniversary.
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With more than 25 years in the jewelry business, Kim Renninger had seen just about everything in the trade.

Everything except a burglary.

That changed earlier this year. As Kimberly's Diamond Corner celebrated its 25th year in downtown Powell, the business was burglarized twice in less than three months.

Renninger said she wasn't surprised the store was targeted -- that's part of the business, after all. She was surprised it didn't happen sooner.

"We're probably one of the best risks for a jewelry store that any insurance company's ever had," she said.

Renninger said the dual burglaries, which took place Jan. 13 and March 31, only briefly sullied the anniversary celebration. She said thankfully no one was at the store during either incident and no one was injured.

In both cases, the burglars took easily accessible "used" jewelry and left the store's new inventory in its display cases.

Thanks in part to a recently upgraded security system, a suspect has been charged in the first case. Renninger said police have identified a suspect in the second case, although charges have not yet been filed.

Renninger said she hopes those two suspects are among the very few visitors who leave Kimberly's Diamond Corner dissatisfied. She said you can't last in the jewelry business without good customer service.

"The whole basis of our business is referral," she said. "You can't advertise trust."

Renninger opened Kimberly's Diamond Corner in Powell in 1989 after years of experience in what she called the "transient" jewelry business: Renninger would set up jewelry sales at hospitals and other venues, giving a cut of the profits to hospital guilds or other groups associated with the locations.

Business was slow to start at the Powell shop, which opened with little word-of-mouth and less inventory.

"I have more money in one ring (now) than I had in the inventory," she said.

Renninger continued to see success with her traveling jewelry shows and invested the profits into her brick-and-mortar operations. As the business grew, so did the village of Powell.

The village had around 2,000 residents in 1990, according to U.S. Census data. The city has added about 10,000 residents since the store opened.

As the population increased, the downtown business district improved. Renninger said it took a while for downtown Powell businesses to be taken seriously and not viewed as "just a bunch of moms hanging out to keep ourselves busy."

Renninger said the increased number of downtown businesses, along with the replacement of gravel sidewalks, are the biggest changes she's seen in city in the past 25 years.

The city also hadn't seen much of a real-estate boom when Renninger arrived in town. She said she moved into one of the city's first three subdivisions and paid $80,000 for the business' building at 1 N. Liberty St.

Renninger said she expects Kimberly's Diamond Corner to be a fixture of the city even after she retires. The store's only other employee is her daughter, Chelsea Norris, whom Renninger expects will continue to run the family business.

While the store saw its first burglaries this year, it has seen several shoplifting incidents in the past. Renninger said the suspects generally have been arrested after finding out what city residents know all too well: It's hard to get anywhere during business hours in downtown Powell, even if you're a criminal.

"How do you get out of Powell?" she said.

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