Read All About It!
Erik Runyan Jewelers in Vancouver, Washington, is a sight to see, which is probably why so many members of the media make a trek to see it. The ERJ showroom features beautifully renovated turn-of-the-century jewelry cases, an original cash register, a riverboat ship’s wheel, and a unique canoe chandelier.
But more than that, the location at 501 Main Street in downtown Vancouver represents the culmination of more than a century — and five generations — of the Runyan family business.
Over the course of that long history of business and community engagement, ERJ has often found itself in the pages of the media — both locally and nationwide. And now that the media encompasses both print and digital realms, there’s actually been an uptick in coverage!
We thought you’d like to know about a few of the most recent pieces. Enjoy!
America’s Coolest Jewelry Store
Erik Runyan Jewelers is America’s Coolest Jewelry Store 2019, according to INSTORE, the jewelry industry’s most trusted and respected publication. INSTORE’s judges evaluated stores based on backstories, interiors and exteriors, marketing efforts, online presence, and what INSTORE calls “the most important intangible: individuality.” Nominees were encouraged to tout their store’s community outreach, their digital presence, as well as what makes their staff cool and how that translates to exceptional customer experiences. INSTORE will feature ERJ on the cover of its August 2019 edition. Keep an eye out for it!
‘Under the Canoe’
INSTORE magazine also published a fun article in June 2019 about ERJ and the aforementioned canoe titled “Store Brands Its Nautical-Themed Identity.” Erik and his wife, Leslie, purchased the canoe from a houseboat owner on the Willamette River in Portland and then lugged it downriver to Vancouver. “I drove my boat to it, Leslie and I hoisted it up, and so began its journey to Vancouver,” Runyan is quoted as saying. “The seller had no reason to suspect that I was going to put three holes in it and hang it upside down!” The story also details how the Runyans use the canoe as the centerpiece of a nifty marketing campaign called “Under the Canoe,” which includes theme parties, a branded wine and plans for the development of canoe-themed jewelry.
Another popular industry publication, Rapaport Magazine, reported on how jewelers take a “multisensory approach” to welcoming customers. For ERJ, that approach includes the canoe, naturally. But it also includes scented candles, dazzling diamond displays, and soundscapes that evoke a sea voyage — perfect for the theme of the showroom and for Erik Runyan himself. (He’s a licensed ship captain.)
Speaking of which, this is the second time that Erik Runyan has been featured by Rapaport Magazine. The first was in 2016. An article titled “Captain at the Helm” focused on ERJ’s then-approaching 100th anniversary and the company’s move back to the neighborhood near the Columbia River in downtown Vancouver. That’s where Erik’s great-grandfather, W.L. Runyan, first started the business in 1917, repairing watches on a bus terminal bench near the ferry docks. “If you take a list of reasons why someone buys from us,” Erik says in the piece, “we hope that price is fourth or fifth or sixth on that list. To us, quality, service, selection and community relationships add tremendous value.”
Vancouver Business Journal
Let’s jump ahead one year to ERJ’s 101st birthday in 2018. The Vancouver Business Journal published an article on the occasion. “While customers’ preferences have changed over the years and inventory comes and goes,” VBJ reports, “one thing has and always will anchor everything at Erik Runyan Jewelers — its commitment to personalized and attentive customer service.” The piece discusses ERJ’s history, the company’s new showroom, and how the Runyan legacy continues to guide business decisions as the family enters its second century of operation. “Our new showroom houses clocks, cash registers, and safes from the early 1900s,” Runyan says. “Seeing the excitement in my father’s eyes as he watched the plans (for the new location) evolve gave me tremendous pride. Like my grandfathers and father before me have done, I am taking my turn at the helm. I hope to be a good steward and treat words like honor, respect, and loyalty like gospel.”
The Vancouver Business Journal also covered ERJ in April 2019, calling the business “part of Vancouver’s history,” which makes perfect sense considering the jewelry store’s long tradition of excellence and community involvement. After W.L. Runyan started the business, his son (and Erik’s grandfather), Gerald, “expanded it into a full-scale jewelry store from the 1940s through the 1960s, performing repairs, engraving and creating original pieces with precious metals and diamonds.” Erik’s father, Steve, ran the place during the 1970s, and Erik himself took over in 1998. “It’s such a living, breathing thing, this business,” Erik says. “There’s a lot of pride in being part of the community.”
“Welcome to the Best of Clark County, where people who love Clark County vote for their favorites,” writes The Columbian newspaper, one of the few businesses in Vancouver that exceeds ERJ in longevity.
Erik Runyan Jewelers is a constant presence in The Columbian’s annual showcase of the best and most popular businesses in Clark County. In fact, readers have chosen ERJ as the best jeweler 12 times, including in 2019.
ERJ’s track record and continuing commitment to excellence make it a near certainty that everybody’s favorite Vancouver jeweler will extend its impressive streak atop the Clark County “Best of” leaderboard for many years to come.
With such an illustrious history — and with a fifth generation now entering the family business — it’s no wonder that ERJ winds up on the pages of the popular press so often.
Drop by Erik Runyan Jewelers today and say hi!
And be sure to check out that nifty canoe.