After winning the Canton Repository’s Best of the Best in two categories for the past three years (Canton’s Best Jewelry Store and Canton’s Best Jewelry Service & Repair), it’s clear that locals love Anne-Marie’s Fine Jewelry. But it’s possible owner Anne-Marie Beris’ daughters love the business even more.
Alyssa and Lauren Beris grew up in the business and worked during the holiday rush as teenagers. But after they each went away to school – Alyssa to Ohio University and Lauren Beris to New Approach School for Bench Jewelers in Tennessee – they returned to Stark County and now work full time at the store.
Yet, they aren’t the only mother-daughter pair on hand. Anne-Marie’s mother, Elaine Maguire, has worked as the store’s office manager since it opened in 1998.
“Each one of us has a different talent that makes us the perfect team,” says Alyssa. “We balance each other and are very passionate about jewelry and this store.”
While not everyone behind the counter is related, it sure feels that way.
“All our employees are family to us even though they aren’t blood,” says Anne-Marie. Kathleen is like my second Mom, and I’ve known Clara since we worked in another jewelry shop 30 years ago. Hattie and Chris have each been with us for many years, too. They are all family!”
Like the employees, most of AMFJ’s customers have been with them for years (some think that Elaine is actually Anne-Marie’s sister, and the joke is that they get charged double). In a way, the staff and customers alike have all seen Alyssa and Lauren grow up.
“Once Mom moved into this location, we’d come to the store almost every day after school at St. Joan of Arc and Central Catholic across the street,” says Alyssa. “We always loved trying on jewelry, ‘designing’ jewelry when we were younger, and playing with the inventory,” added Lauren.
Now, they’re grown … and growing the business.
Lauren was trained by some of the industry’s best and handles repairs, sets diamonds and gemstones, and designs custom pieces for the full-service jewelry store. Alyssa creates marketing content and handles social media, but also loves waiting on customers.
Whether they’re working on something that’s jewelry related or brand/marketing related, the tight-knit team of women bounce ideas off each other. They say collaboration is easy but admit it can be challenging at times.
“We are very close, so there are times when we’re on the same page and other times we clash,” says Lauren. “Every artist has a different vision and approach, but we always bring the customer’s vision to life and love the process.”
The family-owned business has served many generational customers since it opened in 1998. Some who’ve shopped at AMFJ over the years have even returned with their grandchildren who were purchasing engagement rings and other jewelry of their own. The team even mounted an engagement diamond for Elaine to honor her mother.
“It’s crazy how everything comes full circle,” says Lauren.
Speaking of Elaine’s mother and full circle moments, she sold jewelry at O’Neil’s in Massillon. When Anne-Marie was little, the now jewelry-store owner would watch her Sitto (“grandmother” in Lebanese) sell, and she still has every piece of jewelry Sitto ever purchased for her.
“I wear her gold bangle bracelets every single day,” says Anne-Marie. “We decorate a Christmas tree at the store with all of her costume jewelry for the holidays!” It’s a fitting tribute to the woman who babysat the kids when both Anne-Marie and Elaine were at the store working.
But Sitto didn’t stop there. She helped Alyssa, Lauren and their Mother start personal charm bracelets – something all three women emphasize as one of their favorite pieces – and the matriarchs have been saving charms for the youngest two for years.
Whether it's personal charm bracelets, engraved Lebanese family crest pendants, diamond engagement settings, or something else, AMFJ takes pride in their sales and custom work because they know it’s a privilege to create cherished jewelry.
“We could not be more humbled and blessed to do this work,” Lauren says. “We create something new every single day and we love it.”
That love is strong as Anne-Marie doesn’t plan on retiring soon; in fact, the family laughs about her potentially working at the store until she’s 90.
“Without a doubt, we plan to keep this business in the family,” said Anne-Marie. “We joke that Lauren’s kids will be strapped to her back while she’s sitting at the bench. It would be pretty incredible if the future generations would be interested in carrying on the legacy.”
Either way, as the future for AMFJ ownership, the road ahead looks bright for these diamond daughters. And there’s no doubt their gifts are propelling the family business forward.