30 Years Strong
Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers®, was started with Leo working out of a briefcase after a short-lived stint selling jewelry in San Diego's largest department store, Walker Scott. Leo was fired several times for bending the rules to give his customers a better shopping experience but was always re-hired for being the top salesman. His boss at the time "suggested" that he start his own business. So with $125 in his pocket, he went out to venture on his own.
At swap meets, fairs, and any place Leo could find a gathering, he set up a small table, and gradually his passionate following of loyal customers grew. After a couple years, Leo was doing enough business to open his first store on El Cajon Blvd., which was so small that an employee had to quit after becoming pregnant. There was just no room behind the jewelry cases for her! Leo recruited Lisa Hamel and Robin Hart as his first partners and employees. By then Leo was specializing in pre-owned Rolex and Patek Philippe watches, as well as fine cut diamonds and Japanese pearls.
A few years later, the business moved to a larger store. Ah... Now we had a little more room, although it still was not much! It was at this location that Lisa's husband Dano McCarthy joined us. As a company, we gained expertise in fine estate jewelry and colored gemstones.
A couple of years after that brought another move for us, further west on El Cajon Blvd. Here our fledgling company really started to expand. It was there that Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers® began to take on national brands of distinction, such as IWC and Omega watch companies. Also onboard was the elite Hearts On Fire® jewelry brand.
Leo's philosophy was that, "we are off the beaten path and can give a great deal along with excellent service to our customers." Even as we moved into new stores that were progressivley larger and more beautiful, we retained the felling of a family-owned and operated business, and because of that, our loyal customer list continued to grow.
We finally moved our main store away from the colorful characters of El Cajon Blvd. Our beautiful Old Town location is today the largest and most complete, full service fine jewelry store in the San Diego County. Though our company has grown a lot from the original "store in a briefcase," many of Leo's original customers still shop here along with their children and children's children! Best of all, we are still having fun!
We look forward to seeing you soon! We are making some very positive changes in our underlying philosophy and we hope that you will visit us soon so you can experience our outstanding customer service for yourself.