In addition to the Awards presentation the evening will include a silent auction, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Jewelers for Children and GIA Career Fair, and a three-course dinner and dance.
Don Ritchie has jewelry heritage is in his bloodline. His mother's family were founders of the Weisfield's Jewelry chain, where Don's father worked in the business. Harry Ritchie Jewelers was founded by Don's parents, Harry and Jerry Ritchie, in 1956. (image right: Don Ritchie, CEO of Oregon-based Harry Ritchie Jewelers was named winner of the 24 Karat Club Southern California Excellence in Service Award.)
Don studied at UC Berkeley and later joined the Army Reserves during the Vietnam War years. After his service, he began working at the stores under his dad's supervision. Harry was noted for his strong business acumen and attention to detail. Don began on the sales floor, and held every position within the stores through the years. Susan, Don's sister, also joined the business under their father's guidance.
While Harry was known for his strong personality and iron-clad will, Don is distinguished by his sense of humor, his willingness to always roll up his own sleeves to get the job done, excellent listening skills, and a calmness and generosity his family and employees have come to rely on. Don Ritchie has continued the family tradition growing the business to more than 30 stores throughout four states: Oregon, Washington, Idaho and California.
Don and his wife, Lonnie, a registered nurse, have three adult children, and their oldest son has joined the family business after working for leading apparel companies, Nike and Columbia Sportswear. Don's sister, Susan, also has three adult children, and two of them work in the store. Don credits his father as a great man to pass the business along to him and his sister who are now going to pass it down to their children. He hopes a 4th generation will eventually take over after that.
Don is proud of his excellent Jewelers Board of Trade rating. He has never paid a bill late - something most jewelers or anyone for that matter, can claim! His motto is to have fun while working and building the business, while keeping his finger on the pulse of today's jewelry-buying consumer. He was an active member in the jeweler's business group known as the Scull Group, and is currently an influential member of the Leading Jewelers Guild, serving as President twice over the last 15 years. Harry Ritchie Jewelers has been a generous contributor to local hospitals, the University of Oregon, Lane Community College and the local school system. Don has also served as Junior Achievement School Representative for over a decade.
Don says his leadership skills are firmly grounded in always being honest and passionate about what he does. "I want to give others something that makes their lives better, and for that matter, something that makes the world a better, happier place," he stated.