By Ashley Davis
Kat (left) and Larry Stokes (center) are the new owners of Korman, formerly Russell Korman Fine Jewelry in Austin, Texas. They’re pictured with founder Russell “Rusty” Korman (right).
Austin, Texas—Austin, Texas jewelry store Russell Korman Fine Jewelry is about to embark on a new chapter.

After 45 years in business, founder Russell “Rusty” Korman and his brother and sister-in-law, Hank and Monica Korman, will retire from the family business in January.

And though the business won’t remain in the family, it will continue to serve the Austin community under the ownership of Larry and Kat Stokes, who are renaming the business “Korman.”

“Most independent jewelers have gone by the wayside unless a family member will take it over,” Rusty Korman said. “Korman will be here for the next 30 years. I’m leaving my customers in good hands.”

Introduced to the Kormans by mutual friends, the Stokeses have a solid foundation in the jewelry industry.

Larry Stokes was born into it; his mother is the eponymous founder of Susan Robinson Fine Jewelry, located in Tyler, Texas.

Larry and Kat worked for the family business, deciding to steer what was once a gift and jewelry store exclusively into fine jewelry and Swiss timepieces. Larry has extensive Swiss timepiece training and regularly buys timepieces and jewelry on trips to Switzerland, Israel and Hong Kong.

At Korman, the Stokeses hope to expand the Rolex boutique’s selection of Swiss timepieces and broaden its stock of international fine jewelry designers.

“We love Austin and are excited to be a part of this amazing community,” Kat Stokes said. “We strive to offer classic jewelry pieces but with a bit of Austin flare. Our customers are well traveled, and they want to see and experience something different. The most rewarding part of what we do is getting to help celebrate life milestones with our clients. We hope to cater to all ages and offer the perfect token to commemorate any occasion.”

After deciding to sell the store, the Kormans and Stokeses spent two years getting to know each other and negotiating terms. The former owners are confident the Stokes family is the right fit to continue their legacy.

“As I got to know Larry and Kat, I just felt instinctively that they would continue to operate with the transparency and integrity that are so important to me and our customers,” Korman said.

He began his jewelry career selling beads near the University of Texas at Austin, eventually opening a bead store called Russell’s, which he sold to a friend in 1979. In 1983, he opened Russell Korman Fine Jewelry.

Austin-based investor G.H. “Kam” Kronenberg III, a mutual friend of the Kormans and Stokeses, is also an owner of the new Korman store.

“We will honor the Korman legacy by continuing to give back to the community,” Larry Stokes said. “We will also bring fresh energy and offer customers a new experience when they walk in the door.”

Korman will retain most of its long-time employees, the company said, and continue to be located at 5011 Burnet Road.

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