BROCKTON — It’s been 123 years since Russian jeweler Alexander Romm, according to family lore, took a train from Boston as far his money would take him.
He landed in Brockton and started a family business that, three generations later, is closing for good.
“Thank you. It’s been a great ride,” said Alexander Rysman, president of Romm Diamonds and bearer of his grandfather’s first name.
Alexander Rysman, 81, says he plans to spend more time with his wife, Gladys. He said they don’t have a date yet for the store’s last day.
“When all the jewelry is gone, the business will close,” Rysman said Wednesday in an interview at the 1280 Belmont St. store.
Yes, Romm’s really is closing
Pressed on whether the iconic Brockton jeweler isn’t actually having another inventory-clearing sale, as it did in 2018, Rysman said no.
“This really is the end. None of my children are interested in the business,” he said.
Rysman said he’s exploring selling the business, but any future iteration wouldn’t be Romms.
Romm’s started out downtown on Centre Street in 1900. Rysman’s grandfather carried on the tradition among European Jews of selling not just jewelry but also musical instruments. The store moved to Main Street in 1960 and then out to the West Side in 1993. It’s been a long time since they sold a violin.
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Alexander Romm passed the family business to Rysman’s father, Abraham Romm, who married Sophia Rysman Romm. Rysman’s uncle George also helped run the business.
Generations of Brocktonians have thrilled to see a box from Romm’s under the Christmas tree or pulled from a lover’s pocket to propose marriage.
“Half of Brockton calls me Mr. Romm,” he said. “I never correct them because I don’t feel there’s anything malicious in it. To a certain extent it’s a little bit of an honor.”
From professor to peridots
Rysman didn’t plan to follow family tradition into the jewelry trade. He trained as a sociologist at New York University. He aimed to help his father for just one year, in 1978, then return to teaching. Instead, he wound up taking over the business in 1986. You can still hear the latent professor in his soft-spoken, kindly manner.
Rysman, dressed in one of his signature sets of bright waistcoat and tie, said it was sweet to see customers one last time.
“The wonderful thing about running the going out of business sale and seeing all these people I’ve known for years, it’s just very lovely. I feel I’m able to say goodbye to a whole variety of people I’ve helped over the years,” he said.
Workers at the store say the place was packed on Monday as word spread of the closing and a 70% off presale scheduled to end Thursday. One saleswoman said that despite the crowds, people waited patiently to be served. It’s a testament to the bond Romm’s has forged with customers over the years.
“My goal is that every, every transaction should be good for both parties,” said Rysman.
The family plans to stay local, but with the freedom to stay longer on visits to one daughter in Chicago and another in Italy.