Paul Gross started Designer Gold 41 years ago. It was the right time to open a studio and gallery selling custom and artisan jewelry in Hanover. From the onset, customers were drawn to Gross’s own designs which his jewelry store featured. And as an added bonus— the rent was cheap.
“When I started it was possible to rent the grubby little space where I was on 68 South Main Street for a couple hundred bucks a month. You could actually start a business with nothing. The building had something like 17 small businesses in it,” says Gross.
Downtown Hanover has changed radically since Designer Gold first opened. Blocks of older buildings at the southern end of the business district were razed and replaced with classier, more expensive structures. Meanwhile, the Hanover business environment has evolved away from general retail into businesses that sell more customized services such realtors, bankers, financial planners, hair cutters and restaurateurs. There is just one other retailer left in Design Gold’s current Hanover Park location, a building that started out with ten retailers.
Rather than fight the trend, Gross decided to embrace it, in part, because Designer Gold has been moving in that direction organically. Gross’s reputation as an artist and craftsman has grown since he started the business. He’s received national design awards and enjoyed positive word-of-mouth endorsements from three generations of loyal customers. People visiting the shop typically are not casual window-shoppers. They already know Gross personally or by reputation and want to buy or commission jewelry made by him.
Gross decided that starting in 2018 his gallery would sell jewelry exclusively made in his own studio: his own designs and commissioned work along with some pearl and bead jewelry. With his creativity stronger than ever, Gross wanted to redirect his energy to that aspect of the business that got him going in the first place—the creation of fine jewelry.
Not only does the change combine the work that Gross loves with the services and designs his jewelry customers want, but it simplifies life for the business owners. “I’m 66 now and we wanted to make things easier on all of us— particularly Peggy who has to organize me,” says Gross, referring to his wife Peggy Sadler, who manages the business.