Historic Simpson’s Jewelers set to close doors after 50 years in South Lake Tahoe | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Historic Simpson’s Jewelers set to close doors after 50 years in South Lake Tahoe

Simpson's Jewelers' owner Raquel Smith, daughter Nicole, and son Courtney hope to eventually reopen the store in South Lake Tahoe.
Claire Cudahy / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

After 50 years in South Lake Tahoe, Simpson’s Jewelers is planning to shut its doors — but the closure may just be temporary.

“The reason we are going to close this down is to try and keep up with the new-millennium children like mine,” said owner Raquel Smith, who hopes that closing will give her time to reorganize and reopen with a digital storefront, as well as a smaller brick and mortar. “We would like to try and continue the tradition of Simpson’s and upgrade it to what it should be now.”

Simpson’s Jewelers has been in Smith’s family for 75 years, originally started as a gift shop in Sacramento in 1941 by Jack and Ruth Simpson.

As jewelry sales boomed, the shop was eventually separated from the gift shop, and in 1966 Simpson’s Jewelers — first called Tahoe Jeweler, then DBA Simpson — opened in South Lake Tahoe just down the street from the casinos.

After Jack Simpson passed away, his son Phil and wife Esther took over the family business and became active members of the South Lake Tahoe community.

“We have a lot of customers that remember Esther, and they remember Phil. They remember all the jewelry they bought from them when they were first married; now they’re bringing it in to get it checked and reshaped,” Smith said.

“They served a lot of movie stars because they came up here to the Sahara. That concert hall was acoustically one of the finest they ever had. It was a shame when they had to close it down.”

The Sahara-Tahoe’s High Sierra Theatre (now the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino) opened in 1965 in Stateline and attracted the likes of Elvis Presley and Liberace — two of the celebrities that Smith’s aunt and uncle created custom jewelry for.

Smith inherited the business in 2014 and has been operating it with her husband Rex, son Courtney, and daughter Nicole.

“I want to continue what they started — just to keep the name going because it’s part of Tahoe,” Smith said. “This is a legacy, and I’d love to continue it. We’ve had some extremely loyal customers, and we’ve got to thank Lake Tahoe because they have been awesome.”

Smith said that Simpson’s will remain open until the discounted inventory is sold and hopes that the store will eventually reopen in a more prominent area near the Stateline casinos.