By John Burton
RUMSON – It was a good run these last 32 years and it’s time for the next chapter in their lives, Penny Viau said.
Viau, who has owned Goldtinker in Rumson with her husband Dean for more than three decades, called her retiring a “a win-win.” The 15 W. River Road jewelry store is winding down to its final day on Saturday, Jan. 11.
“It’s not a sad situation going out. It’s a happy, happy time for all,” Viau said.
The Viaus are looking forward to what’s next for them, retiring to the Venice Beach area on the west coast of Florida, where they expect to spend some of their new free time enjoying a favorite pastime – playing golf.
It has been a joyful time, during which Penny Viau has established long-term – and in some cases generational – relationships with customers.
“It was always fun coming into work,” she said. “This business is kind of unique in that it’s always a happy occasion” when people come through the door, looking for that special item for a special time in their lives or for a noteworthy, upcoming event, she continued.
With the store’s closing eminent, the remaining inventory has been marked down by 70 percent, with an additional 25 percent off, a sale expected to continue until the shop closes its doors, Viau said. Her remaining stock has been “flying out the door,” especially for the holiday shopping season.
The shop has always had an inventory that ran from $100 gift items to diamond engagement rings that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, meeting the needs of all of her customers. “I always tried to cover all the avenues,” for customers, Viau said.
Viau started with Goldtinker in 1976 and took over as the Rumson store’s manager in 1981. She and her husband, Dean, who worked as the location’s jeweler, bought the operation in 1983. Another Goldtinker, located in Deal and owned by Joseph Romanowski, continues to be in business, but will relocate to Red Bank, according to Viau.
Along with her husband working as the site’s jeweler, Viau actually made some of the jewelry items for sale in their shop. Her background is in fashion, having studied fashion design and illustration at the Traphagen School of Fashion Design in New York City, and designing jewelry has always been a great joy for her.
While she insisted “I’m done,” when she and Dean close the doors here, she said she’ll probably continue making some items with her large personal stone collection, working out of a planned studio – where she also will dabble in painting – in her Florida home. She is considering establishing a website to sell those items in the future, Viau said.
According to Viau, making the jewelry was one of the most fulfilling aspects of her work.
“It’s an exciting process and I’m passionate about it,” she said. Another part of the process that has been rewarding is dealing with her regular customers. Many of them have remained loyal to Goldtinker for its entire run. In some cases, children of her customers grew up and bought engagement rings and other items. Viau and her staff kept records of the customers’ preferences over the years to meet their tastes and requirements, which helped create what Viau called a “local downtown store,” in Rumson’s business district. Dealing with her clients, many living in the Rumson-Fair Haven area, is what she will miss, Viau said.
“The clientele has been absolutely wonderful, a joy,” she said. And apparently the feeling has been mutual. As Viau noted, “I was touched by the number of people who’ve said they’ll miss us and are sorry to see us go.
“It’s been a great run,” she said, operating what she called a “unique boutique”-style shop, showcasing many unusual pieces these many years. But now it’s about the next chapter where she and her husband will be “driving into the sunset,” of Florida’s west coast.