By Brecken Branstrator
A family-owned business in operation since 1939, Murphy-Pitard Jewelers in El Dorado, Arkansas is acquiring Lauray’s the Diamond Center in Hot Springs.
Hot Springs, Ark.—Two longtime, family-owned independent jewelers in Arkansas are merging to enhance their businesses.

Murphy-Pitard Jewelers in El Dorado, which opened in 1939, is acquiring Lauray’s the Diamond Center of Hot Springs, which has been in business since 1924.

The companies said their shared commitment to continuously improving customer service and remaining an integral part of their respective communities motivated the merger. It will allow both stores to grow by “sharing talents and resources in non-competitive markets.”

The idea for the merger came when Mark Fleischner, owner of Lauray’s, met Murphy-Pitard owner Toddy Pitard.

A mutual friend introduced the two and they quickly bonded over their shared passion for their businesses, pride in being part of the history of their hometowns and commitment to being family owned, they said.

Fleischner is contemplating retirement in the coming year, and he said he knew Pitard was the right man to continue the legacy he helped build.  

“We wouldn’t tie our name and share our business with just anyone,” he said. “Our family has worked for three generations in serving the people of Hot Springs, so we have a lot to protect. With Toddy and Amanda, though, it just feels like family. We are excited for them to be a part of ours and to become a part of theirs.”

A company spokesperson said Lauray’s will remain unchanged, including management, but added that Toddy Pitard will bring new ideas to the retailer to help it grow in the future, including new designer lines and additional services.

The two businesses have more than 170 years of jewelry experience between them.

Toddy Pitard is a master bench jeweler and Amanda Pitard is a graduate gemologist, while Murphy-Pitard has two certified in-house watchmakers who will now service watches belonging to Lauray’s customers as well.

“It’s a real blessing to play a part in bringing these two communities together,” Toddy Pitard said. “Many of our customers have vacation residences in Hot Springs or have retired to Hot Springs Village. We are thankful to be able to join them where they are and build new relationships with the Hot Springs locals.”

He added: “By uniting our store management and leveraging our brand and industry relationships, we will achieve stronger buying power for more brand opportunities with lower ticket prices. There’s certainly strength in numbers, and we couldn’t be more excited about this partnership.”

Get the Daily News >
National Jeweler

Fine Jewelry Industry News

Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.