Growing up in Wellesley, MA, David Walker’s father, Frederick J. Walker, did everything he could to discourage his five children from going into the jewelry business as he had because of the challenges that come with it. But his son wouldn’t listen, and in 1979, he launched his own jewelry business called David & Company, first in Wellesley and eventually in Brookline. In 2006, he bought Shreve, Crump & Low, America’s oldest jewelry company—established in 1796—and suddenly went from eight employees to 88.
A decade later, Walker and his own family successfully run Shreve, Crump & Low from their Chestnut Hill and Boston, MA locations and now a Greenwich, CT one that opened a year and a half ago. David’s two sons, Brian and Brad, are taking the helm in Greenwich, and just like their father, they chose the job themselves.
“Brian and Brad took to it naturally,” says Walker, adding that passion is what drives his family. “If you don’t love what you do, you’re doing the wrong thing.” Both sons started in watch repair, replacing batteries and straps and strengthening their customer service skills. “You can’t sit behind a cubical and be regimented about what your job description is,” says Brian. “Every day you have to be dynamic…It’s a cliché but you have to give it everything.”
For the youngest generation of Walkers, the key has been knowing each other’s strengths and capitalizing on them. “It allows us to multiply our success,” says Brad, who credits his parents for teaching him and his brother (and youngest sister Olivia who is a graduating senior at Babson College and plans to attend the Gemological Institute of America next fall), to appreciate each other.
“To be completely frank,” says Brian, “not having Brad here would change the dynamic of how things work.” Focusing on what they’re working toward helps the Walker family get past minor setbacks and disagreements. “Brian and I always remind each other how lucky we are to be in this position,” says Brad. “It’s not about the emotion. It’s about the reputation. It’s about building something that is going to last through the ages.”