FARGO - Randy Wimmer is newly retired, but that doesn't keep him from looping his jeweler's scope, known as a loupe, around his neck when he visits the business his family has run for nearly a century.
"It's just automatic," Wimmer said of the magnifying glass jewelers use to inspect gems.
"I also use it for checking ladies' rings and making sure the stones are secure," said Wimmer, whose grandfather, Fred Wimmer, founded Wimmer's Diamonds in Fargo in 1919.
The company now has two locations, one in downtown Fargo and one in the West Acres mall.
Randy Wimmer and his younger brother, Brad, have operated the business since 1983, when they took over from their parents.
With Randy retiring, Brad will continue running Wimmer's. But he, too, will be looking to step away in a few years, said Randy Wimmer, who along with Brad had a family summit a number of years ago to gauge the interest the younger generation of Wimmers have in some day taking over.
Sons, nieces and nephews were recruited.
Randy Wimmer said Brad Wimmer's son, Aaron, who has been with the company for a number of years, is the heir apparent, though others among the younger generation also have displayed an affinity for gems.
They include Randy Wimmer's son Josh, who spent many years writing for a jewelry trade magazine, and a niece, Kayci, a gemologist.
Randy Wimmer's tenure with the family business began in 1965 when he was in high school and worked at the jewelry store part time.
Four decades later, Wimmer will admit to having had some apprehension as his planned retirement drew near.
"I really enjoyed every day," he said. "It's sort of like, 'What am I going to do for eight hours a day?' Which I'm finding is not that hard." He said volunteering is a satisfying way to fill his days.
"I just got done with a gig on the AirSho committee, that was a lot of fun," he said.
Wimmer plans to remain a part of the business in various ways, including offering his help during busy times, like the holidays.
He said he hopes Wimmer's Diamonds and the jewelry industry in general will always be around to help people mark important accomplishments and relationships.
"A foundation of our business is celebrating the events in life - weddings, anniversaries, birthdays. We hope that's going to continue," Wimmer said, adding he has enjoyed helping people make choices when it comes to selecting that special item.
He recalled a husband who was "thoughtful enough to come in and create a sisters' ring for his wife and her two sisters. The ladies were really touched," Wimmer said.