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Living the American Dream at Ingrid’s Jewelers

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When Ingrid Strange was 5 years old, she stood in the war torn streets of Germany as WWII came to a close. As the little German girl watched American soldiers go by, one jumped from his tank and knelt to hand her a piece of candy. This simple gesture ignited a life-long love for American soldiers which, today, is the cornerstone of Ingrid’s business success.

Ingrids-castleGrowing up in Germany watching her grandparents run the family restaurant gave young Ingrid the perfect training to operate her own business later in life. Immigrating to the US when she was a teenager; Ingrid’s love of America and the American soldier became evident when she met and married a career Army officer, Jerry Strange.

While living in Europe, Ingrid’s business acumen was quickly recognized. She gained valuable insight into the jewelry industry when she rose through the ranks of a German wholesale jewelry manufacturer, eventually becoming CEO. It wasn’t until 1982, when the couple moved to Daleville, Alabama that she opened her first retail jewelry store, Ingrid’s Jewelers.

Taking advantage of the “smart business gene” passed down from her parents and grandparents; Ingrid started small and patiently grew her business. Her direct approach and laugh-out-loud personality quickly made her a Ft. Rucker favorite. Within one year of opening her business Strange was named Daleville’s Woman of the Year.

“My business strategy is simple,” said Strange. “Give back to them, in service and quality, as an expression of appreciation for what they do for us, for their service and sacrifices, so that we can live the American dream.”

Ingrid-soldiers-Oct
In addition to running a successful jewelry store and restuarant, Ingrid Strange is a big supporter of United States Military personnel.
From Army privates to NASA astronauts, Ingrid has served them all. She’s even had an engagement ring travel to outer space when it was given to an American astronaut.

But to Ingrid everyone is important and, along the way, she never forgets to give back. Known for her fund raising efforts through the Association of the United States Army, Strange donates to and sponsors fund raisers to help countless military families put food on their table, pay education expenses and transition back into normal life after serving abroad.

“God takes care of me and my family. I believe in God and I believe in being good to people,” states Strange.

In 1987 Strange opened a German restaurant in a separate location. Two years later she combined the jewelry store and restaurant into the new castle-style store front she’d recently built.

“We built the castle because this town needed something different and we were glad we could provide it,” said Strange. “Two years later, my daughter Kirsten suggested I move the jewelry store here. Today, I’m in the kitchen cooking by 7 a.m., and by noon I’m in the jewelry store helping my customers. I measure success by the happiness of each one of my customers who come through our doors every day.”

Ingrid Strange was also this year’s recipient of the 24 Karat Club Southeastern United States’ Retailer of the Year Award. Her exceptional record of industry accomplishments, personal and civic contributions, professional integrity and her commitment to the betterment of the jewelry industry are what made her stand out among her peers. For her, it was simply an honor to be nominated.

Today Ingrid enjoys her success alongside her husband Jerry, daughter Kirsten Negard and jeweler Allen Tice. But she never stops thinking about how she can give back to those in need.

Be sure to stop by Ingrid’s Jewelers or Castle Café when in Daleville. Meeting Ingrid is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Call Ingrid’s Jewelers at 334-598-9005.

 
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