Thursday, 08 February 2018 01:08

Downtown Rockingham's Helms Jewelers Still "Sparkling" Under New Ownership

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New owner Ellyn Brannick cuts the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce ribbon at the grand “re-opening” of Helms Jewelers in Rockingham on Friday, November 17, 2017.  New owner Ellyn Brannick cuts the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce ribbon at the grand “re-opening” of Helms Jewelers in Rockingham on Friday, November 17, 2017. Photo courtesy of C.K. Craven.

ROCKINGHAM – Helms Jewelers is under new ownership, but the local business continues its 124-year history as a premier “down home” destination for any and all customer needs related to necklaces, rings, watches and assorted housewares.

After the re-opening of Helms’ Jewelers on October 26 of last year, business has been very good. 

“We have expanded the inventory quite a bit,” said owner Ellyn Brannick. “And we have significantly upgraded our stock of watches.”

She noted that, given the advances in modern technology and the time-keeping capability features of most cell phones, the market for watches has suffered.  “But I still had some people asking for them so, here they are,” Brannick added.

Helms offers a wide variety of other selections, and all “at the best price possible,” according to the owner. 

“Pearl necklaces are actually some of our best-selling merchandise,” Brannick pointed out. “But we have a nice selection of non-jewelry items as well.” 

Elegant displays of crystal, purple glassware and holiday-motif curios line the walls of the relatively small shop, providing an inviting atmosphere for the shopper. 

“There’s certainly no pressure to buy anything,” said Brannick. “But we are right here to assist the customer in any way needed.”

The “we” at Helms Jewelers is comprised of a group of only three employees, such as Mindy Schwartz, to keep the business operating. With the expanded inventory and brisk flow of business, Brannick indicated that she would actually consider adding another worker.

Having been first established in Rockingham by the Helms family in 1894, ownership was passed to the Snoddy family before being assumed by Steve and Cynthia Morris in 1975.  Thus, Brannick is only the fourth to operate the business in its 124-year history.

During the latest transition, Brannick worked closely with Morris to ensure that the traditions of Helms were maintained, particularly those established during the past 42 years.  She even kept the Helms’ mission statement, “To help others celebrate the happy events in their lives and build lasting relationships with them,” and hopes to make all of  her customers, both old and new, happy with their purchases and services.  

“We take pride in being fair to the customer,” Brannick stated. “And want everyone to be highly satisfied when they leave our store. We honor any and all of the commitments made by Steve (Morris).”

Such an accommodating “down home” approach to customer service belies the brains behind the operation of Helms Jewelers. Brannick is the epitome of a professional jeweler –  with over 16 years in the jewelry business itself, and a lifetime of experience with various types of antiques and related endeavors (her father was a glassworks professional so she was raised in this environment), Brannick constitutes an excellent source of current information regarding questions about the authenticity or value of certain items.

“We invite questions about jewelry and antiques in general, and estate items in particular,” Brannick explained. 

Those with a question about an heirloom or piece that they think may be valuable may visit Helms’ downtown Rockingham location at 211 East Washington Street during its regular hours of operation (Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), or call 910-895-2936, or simply forward a photograph and description to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Brannick wants everyone to know that she will purchase gold, silver and platinum for a fair price, continue to offer jewelry repair, and that any problems will be immediately addressed.

For more information about their array of merchandise, visit