Long time Marceline business Yocom Jewelry will officially be closing after almost 39 years of operation on December 23. Yocom Jewelry owner Albert Yocom is retiring after a career of doing what he claims is his dream job.
“I’ve been able to do what I want, for as long as I want, in the place I wanted to be,” Yocom said.
Born and raised in Marceline, Yocom began his interest in the jewelry business during his early childhood. Previous Marceline jeweler Glen Maxwell let Yocom hang around his shop when he was just eight years old. From there, Yocom became enveloped in the jewelry business.
“By the time I got up in high school, I was really interested. I was doing window displays for [Maxwell] and changing his windows once a week,” Yocom said. “When I was a junior in high school I knew this is what I wanted to do, which I think is rare for people at that age.”
Yocom continued his passion by attending Gem City College, where he learned watchmaking and repairs. After finishing his studies, he was able to obtain a job at James Jewelers in Brookfield. He held that job for seven years before opening his own storefront.
In 1979, Yocom bought out his mentor’s jewelry business and began his own storefront. After two moves around Marceline, he settled down in his current location and has since been “living the dream,” as he says.
Throughout the years, Yocom has acquired many pleasant memories and experiences with those in the area. He says that the joy he brings to people with his jewelry is the driving force behind why he’s loved his career for so many years.
“The ones that I love the most are where somebody has saved; you know, a guy has come in and put something on layaway, or bought something that he can afford. Seeing that given to his wife or partner and seeing the joy that it brings,” Yocom said. “Seeing people happy after saving to buy something is something that has stuck with me.”
Yocom recounted a story he fondly remembered of a woman working to purchase a gold chain for her husband.
“She said it was hard for her to get cash to purchase the item because she didn’t work out of the home,” Yocom said. “So every week when she went to the grocery store, for probably three months, she would write her grocery store check for $25 or $35 more and she’d bring the cash to me, that was really clever by her.”
Over the years Yocom had many adventures bringing new jewelry and gemstones to Marceline from all around the globe. He cultured himself in places such as Israel and Germany while looking for precious stones to bring back for his clients and customers.
Yocom’s Jewelry will be replaced by another jewelry store. The new business will be headed by his current store manager, Rhonda Banks, once again continuing the tradition of passing down the business to someone the owner has grown close and worked with.
When asked what he will miss the most about his career, Yocom expressed his sadness in leaving the people he had the pleasure of dealing with every day, but left a caring thought to those who’ve been with him along his adventure.
“To see them happy is what we want the most,” Yocom said. “Thank you to my customers, you know who you are, it’s been a ride.”