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Zionsville jeweler puts social justice first

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ZIONSVILLE – It’s not everyday you’re greeted by a painting of Nipsey Hussle, Tupac Shakur or Harriet Tubman when you walk into a jewelry store, but Robert Goodman Jewelers in Zionsville isn’t your average jewelry store.

From the outside in, Robert Goodman, a third-generation jeweler, and his wife and business partner, Rose-Marie, voice their position on several contentious issues plaguing our country today. The drab brick exterior of their store on downtown Zionsville’s cobblestone Main Street is adorned with signs for Black Lives Matter, Mom’s Demand Action, a pride flag and flyers for justice-related events and groups social.

“Our personal positions are an integral part of our company and are integrated into it. It’s who we are. It’s not a business model. It is a human model. We’re not doing this to increase our volume; we do it because we think that’s what’s right,” Goodman said.

WRTV Photo: Shakkira Harris

Robert Goodman Jewelers is hosting an art exhibit focused on social justice, diversity and inclusion, inside its Zionsville jewelry store from July 8, 2022 through July 31, 2022.

Historically, consumers didn’t see business owners taking a public position on anything, let alone politics. Over the past decade, however, more and more corporations and small businesses have taken a stand on an issue. Much of this has to do with social media and consumers having a bit more power to demand answers from businesses. With the growth of social media, consumers demanding transparency have also increased.

It’s a demand for transparency that we haven’t seen hit jewelry companies quite as it has hit other industries, such as food, hospitality and apparel companies.

“The lack of fair and equal opportunity that we have historically seen in our industry is an abomination, and it is something that we as generational jewelers should be embarrassed about,” Goodman said.

Goodman says the jewelry industry is no different from any other American institutions that have been exposed for their discriminatory pasts and inequities. And he asks the industry not to sit back and wait for consumer demands, but to be proactive. And he took the lead.

“The industry, just like, I would say most other industries in the country, hasn’t been fair to people of color,” Goodman said. “Just as we see around the world in the United States, there is systemic racism. And we have recently, over the last few years, started to call that out within the industry and call for more equality and more opportunities.”

Goodman was born into a family that at one time owned 10 jewelry stores in Indiana. Twenty-two years ago, he had a special opportunity to open the Zionsville store as the others closed, and his birthright advantage is not lost on him.

Goodman says he has always made his position known to Zionsville on any issue. He is intentional about who he does business with and who he will tolerate in his store. For example, the shop has been publicly declared gun-free and only offers durable designer jewelry.

It’s been over the past six years that Goodman has been able to find ways to take action and use his platform to provide equal opportunities and bring communities together.

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WRTV Photo: Shakkira Harris

Signage outside Robert Goodman Jewelers in Zionsville

As someone who values ​​conversation — and frequently has it — Goodman reached out to Indianapolis community leaders to ask for their input on a slew of ideas he had.

“That’s how you make people understand and be tolerant and accepting,” Goodman said.

The jeweler ultimately wanted to bring together a variety of communities in downtown Zionsville so people could share space, have productive conversations, and just be around someone who is different from themselves in some way. of another.

In recent years, Goodman has held several public events, such as an Iftar, which is an evening meal that Muslims must end their daily Ramadan fast that includes a call to prayer. “Out in front of the store, on the sidewalk, in public, they broke their fast here,” Goodman said. “It was beautiful.”

Goodman Jewelers also had the Menorah publicly lit during Hanukkah.

They have also recently made it a point to partner with small and medium sized designers around the world and instead of giving the industry standard 6% of the take they are giving designers and miners 96% of the socket. “So you can do it and not just do it right in your store. It’s also how you interact with the world,” Goodman said.

More recently, Robert Goodman’s held a Black Jeweler pop-up event, where owners take no commission or sell their own jewelry, closing their cases and giving jewelers some color space.

“We want to keep doing that kind of stuff — bringing people together to experience things that they wouldn’t normally experience,” Goodman said.

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WRTV Photo: Shakkira Harris

Robert and Rose-Marie Goodman, owners of Robert Goodman Jewellers, are pictured during an interview with WRTV.

Goodman says he uses his place of business as a space for civil conversations that can hopefully move our communities beyond division.

“It’s just about trying to bring people together, learn from each other, and feel comfortable,” Goodman said.

Robert Goodman’s latest event is a month-long art exhibit inside their storefront at 106 N. Main St. on the theme of social justice, diversity and inclusion. The shop hosts works by artists of all ages and is open to everyone.

It’s a unique collaboration, some might think, of art and jewelry sharing space. It’s an unusual place for an art exhibition, for example, there’s expensive jewelry around and glass everywhere – but the Goodmans say jewelry is art, and having paintings and photographs and all other art mediums sharing the same space with jewelry is a “natural, logical partnership.”

The Goodmans hope that this art exhibit and the events and galleries they plan to continue to host in the future will help bring about change and lead to a more equitable world.

“We hope that through this exhibition we will inspire people to think more about social justice, diversity and inclusion and talk about solving age-old problems. Addressing these issues is key to a successful society,” Goodman said.

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WRTV Photo: Shakkira Harris

A framed poem by Emily Dickinson hangs on the wall of the Robert Goodman jewelry store in Zionsville.

The Robert Goodman DEI Art Exhibition runs throughout the month of July. You can learn more about the company at robertgoodmanjewelers.com, on Facebook and on Instagram.

Shakkira Harris, WRTV digital reporter, can be reached at [email protected] You can follow her on Twitter, @shakkirasays.