Saint Louis Store is a Treasure
By Lee McCain
Brandon Mroz recently took the silver medal in the Men's Figure Skating in China. Of course it's a gratifying and exciting accomplishment, but for Brandon, he can rest assured that the medal he earned is in fact forged of the highest quality silver. This is because he and his father come from a long line of Saint Louis jewelers who own one of the most famous and revered jewelry stores in America.
Kessler Mroz Jewelry has been in business for over a century, and by all accounts they have earned those bragging rights because of their attentive customer service, a jewelry line that is unlike any other in the nation, and their ability to hand make any piece a customer can imagine.
"We make jewelry for everyone, from sports stars, to film stars, to rappers, and of course the average person who wants the best in jewelry but who might be on a budget," says owner Michael Mroz.
"We can give our clients the very best service because they deal directly with us; there's no middle man, like the corporate jewelry stores have," he adds. "We make and cast jewelry in house, and we don't have to charge for every little thing in the process because we do it all here." This, according to Mroz, is why his firm can eliminate so much of the overhead that would normally be passed on to the customer.
"Plus," he adds, "we love what we do. We really care that the client gets what he or she is looking for."
He illustrates this with a story of a desperate client who was searching for a matching ring for a wedding band that the chain stores said was discontinued.
"He showed it to me and we were able to duplicate it exactly to the specifications of the original piece," Mroz explained. "Needless to say, that was one happy customer." And Mroz, while he would discount it as just an average day of making a client happy, admitted that one of his greatest thrills in the business is being able to provide services like this that, for the most part, ended with the Johnson administration.
Mroz is also happy to keep the history of his store as true as the day it opened in 1904. The Mroz family entered the business when Ed Mroz worked with Al Kessler, the original store owner. Ed's brother, Joseph—who is Michael's father—was trained as an apprentice under Al's expert tutelage. After a timeout doing his country's bidding in WWII, Joseph returned to the Kessler business and eventually became a partner in 1946. This is when the Mroz lineage assumed full-time operation of the store and the many members of the Mroz family made their careers providing the best service and jewelry pieces available anywhere. And at a time when the entire jewelry and precious metals retail industry was changing, the Mroz family decided the best course of action was to maintain their fine standards and ignore what the competition did. That decision has served them well.
Michael Mroz's career path to his present position at Kessler Mroz was as circuitous as the rings he sells.
He first attended Missouri University as a Bio major then transferred to the University of Kansas City's dental school. However, he decided that his true love lie in the jewelry business so he returned to the family store where he and his sons, Jordan and Devin, continue the family tradition. Son Brandon figure skates, and his fourth son, Spencer, attends high school.
A Tradition of Service
Mroz speaks fondly of his store's ability to provide single pieces, "to over 900 custom three dimensional rings and belt buckles that we made for Bi-State (the predecessor to Metro Transit St. Louis), because we make our own rubber molds and of course the client can actually talk face to face with the jeweler who is making the item."
Besides the custom work, Kessler Mroz Jewelers has an excellent line of items in stock ready to buy.
"We have gorgeous Black Diamond necklaces for $29.95," Mroz says. "And this holiday season it's all about Black Diamonds. Folks should stop in and see what we have. This is the perfect time of year to shop for jewelry."
Kessler Mroz Jewelry is located at 777 Olive Street in St. Louis. Readers can reach Michael or his associates at (314) 621-0822 and by e-mail at Michael@kesslermrozjewelry.com.