By Melinda Gray
I love my job; it’s the vehicle through which I’ve met some of the most wonderful people since I’ve been here. Getting to know people is inherent in interviewing them for a story, and I recently had the pleasure of meeting, and interviewing one such family. The Katheins opened Golden Gate Jewelers of Marco on June 3, and contrary to what the name might suggest, they are not from Golden Gate, but rather Florida’s east coast.
They are very excited that Marco Island is the location of their second store; owning a jewelry store here has been a long-time dream for them. They founded Golden Gate Jewelers 34 years ago in Fort Lauderdale, but after visiting Marco Island for more than 30 years, they decided to start making it official by purchasing a home here eight years ago.
“I fell in love the second we drove over that bridge. We’ve seen the changes, and watched it grow,” said Annelie. “I always say, ‘Hello, my island!’, when I come here, and I was always sad when we had to leave. I just really love this place.”
“We grew up here over the summers. It’s beautiful,” said Avital. “Our home away from home has now become our home.”
Mother and daughter, Annelie and Avital, are now year-round Marco Island residents and will operate this location full time. Father and son, Amir and Ari, commute during the week to run their Golden Gate Jewelers location on the east coast. They, too, would like to be here full time, but say transitioning fully will take a few years. Being part of this community, getting involved and giving back to the area is very important to all of them.
Together, the family has built a stellar reputation, and they are proud to offer the vast experience they each bring to the customer. People know them by their name and their business card; clientele from all over the country and abroad will wait until they get to Florida to see them.
“I’m proud to say that when people give us a chance, they don’t go anywhere else,” said Ari.
Avital, a psychology and marketing student at FGCU, has marketing skills and a creative flair; Ari, a graduate GIA gemologist, is very particular in his designs and likes to educate his customers; and the family patriarch, Amir, knows everything and anything there is to know about any watch.
“And I do what moms do: whatever needs to be done when it needs to be done,” said Annelie.
Surrogate family member and employee, Jason Wallet, brings his training as a goldsmith, and is currently the only licensed importer of Australian fire opals. The family is thrilled to have him and his skills available to their customers.
The goal is that their customers always know what they are buying and feel comfortable with their purchase. They believe any jeweler-client relationship has to begin with trust.
Striving to set themselves apart in their field of expertise, they offer a great selection of fine time pieces, a large diamond selection, custom design, appraisals and remounts. Any high-end watch a person is looking for they can bring in, and any high-end watch bought, new or pre-owned, comes with a one-year warranty. They offer in-house watch service and a quick turnaround on repairs, a welcome change from the average two-week wait.
With on-site 3D CAD modeling software, they can bring your dream to life, and they promise that if they don’t have it, their store on the east coast will. Whether you’re looking for a gift under $50 or a 24-carat diamond tennis necklace, their only limit is your budget.
“We’re able to cater to any and all needs. We stand behind our product and the customer service doesn’t end with the sale,” said Ari.
“We treat our customers like family. It’s very important to me that everyone feels comfortable when they come into my store. It’s like my home; you have to be comfortable when you come into my home,” said Annelie.
“If I have to do the Macarena to break the ice, I will,” said Ari.
“We love life, and we really believe in just being happy,” said Annelie.
Golden Gate Jewelers of Marco’s summertime hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 AM-5 PM. Store hours during season will be Monday through Saturday 10 AM-6 PM. They plan to hold a grand opening bash sometime in November.