Diamonds On The Avenue has been a part of our lives for 2 decades. When the owners Margaret and Kevin this month announced their retirement and subsequent closing of the store, it is more than the shuttering of a business here in the QCA. It will mark the end of an era.

If you are a Bears fan, like Kevin and me, you'll understand the analogy of Diamonds On The Avenue being like Walter Payton. Talent, hard work, and treating people right are all qualities that you can attribute to both. I can't count the number of times Margaret has reached beyond a sale price to further help a new couple buying their most important ring. Or how Kevin loved his spur-of-the-moment phone calls to our show to help someone who needed a boost, or a replacement ring, or just a donation to a cause. They never asked for a spotlight for such generosity. They knew they could help, so they did what they could, when they could.  It was good business.

My favorite story (and one I'm sure they'd rather me not tell) comes from Katie's time with the Sparkles, (The inclusive High School cheer squad that was just getting traction here at PV high School at the time,) and I wanted to commemorate her special year with a pendant. I worked with Diamonds On The Avenue, and as the pendant was near finished, I knew it would be perfect. Margaret helped me find the perfect cheerleader pendant, and I added a special touch for Katie--her birthstone (A diamond, go figure.)

As Margaret and I worked together to make the most unique and special memento for Katie, Margaret clearly became more and more invested in the Sparkles. She asked if it would be okay if She and Kevin could make more of the same pendant and donate them to the entire Sparkles team, so that they would all have a special reminder of this time in their lives. A wonderful gesture that I won't ever forget. And all the while she remembered that I had come to her with the idea, so rather than make the rest of the pendants with diamonds, she allowed my moment with Katie to remain unique to us, and put blue sapphires in the other pendants (The team color for PV.) When it comes to knowing the value of people, customers, and family, Kevin and Margaret made the time. Just like the stories you'd hear about Walter Payton never disappointing a fan.

But perhaps the, biggest similarity with "Sweetness," to me, is that they are quitting the game too soon. I am happy that Margaret and Kevin will get to enjoy their hard-earned retirement, and be able to be full-time grandparents. Selfishly I had hoped that maybe my own children would be buying their important diamonds there in the years to come. After all, I have benefitted from their expertise many times. In fact, I can picture calling them out of retirement when it's time for Joey to buy an engagement diamond.

In the list below, which I uncovered during some frantic pre-holiday cleaning, you can see that Joey has already bought some important jewelry at Diamonds On The Avenue.

greg dwyer Townsquaremedia

This was a list from the first time I took Joey shopping with his own money for Christmas shopping. He was maybe 7 or 8. And they way they treated him, having only $50.00 for his mommy, was as if he were the richest customer in the store. We can sure use more folks like Kevin and Margaret around, not less.

I'm glad we got to be customers, and friends. I am richer (well, and a little poorer!) because of them. Congratulations to Kevin and Margaret, they earned it.