Personal touch has allowed jewellers to keep on shining
Back in 1991, Jim Conlon had his sights set on a career in the entertainment industry in America.
But an unexpected transatlantic call saw him dashing home to the family business, Midas Jewellers in Lisburn, to support his mother following his stepfather's illness.
He hasn't looked back since. In fact, next year he'll be celebrating his 25th anniversary in the Bow Street business, now a major provider of diamond engagement and wedding rings.
There will be a series of special events as Midas celebrates four decades in existence. And it will be a decade since Mr Conlon, who is from Belfast, bought the business from his late mother.
"Midas was first established in an upstairs room in Chapel Hill in 1976," said Mr Conlon.
"Lisburn was a very different place then and over the years, I believe the development of the business has mirrored that of a city which is now recognised as one of the province's leading retail locations."
While Midas started out selling traditional jewellery, it has broadened its range to include brands like Thomas Sabo and Links of London. Price tags run the gamut from £50 to £50,000.
It's been popular with many families in the area, some of whom have been coming over three generations.
He said retailing has been challenging in recent years, but points to a key decision which is never to compromise on quality.
"We chose to partner with like-minded suppliers who maintain the integrity of their jewellery and who also refuse to compromise on quality, continuing to provide us with excellent value-for-money jewellery that will pass from generation to generation.
"It's the combination of our beautifully-made products and our expert diamond knowledge that has ensured the continued success of Midas.
"Because of the nature of our work, we tend to build really close personal relationships with people, some of which can span decades.
"It's an amazing feeling to be able to help people celebrate key milestones in their lives.
"We understand investing in a piece of jewellery - especially a diamond ring - is not like buying a book from Amazon, so we work hard to ensure that every customer feels special and valued.
"I strongly believe that is one of the things that have enabled us to overcome the economic challenges faced by the retail sector, as a result of both the recession and the increase in online shopping," he added.
Midas Jewellers is based at 50 Bow Street, Lisburn. Visit www.midasjewellers.com