By Michelle Graff
On Jan. 1, Damon Gross will take over as CEO of Hyde Park Jewelers and Michael Pollak will become non-executive chairman. Hyde Park has stores in Denver (pictured here), Phoenix and Newport Beach, California, and operates several mono-brand stores as well.
Denver—Hyde Park Jewelers founder Michael Pollak, who got his start selling turquoise on the lawn at the University of Denver, is taking a step back from the now multi-store chain he started in 1976.

Hyde Park Jewelers announced in a press release late last month that Pollak will step down as CEO on Jan. 1 and be replaced by Chief Operating Officer Damon Gross, who has been with the company since 2007.

20191211 Damon Gross NEWMichael Pollak called Damon Gross, the soon-to-be CEO of Hyde Park Jewelers, “the most exceptional jewelry and watch executive” that he and his wife Shereen Pollak have ever worked with.Michael and his wife, Shereen Pollak, will remain the sole shareholders of Hyde Park Jewelers.

“It’s not a retirement in any sense of the word,” Pollak said in an interview with National Jeweler on Monday. “It’s … a pivot in terms of how I am going to spend my time.”

He will step into more of a supporting role for Gross and the rest of the Hyde Park team in order to focus on “passion projects,” both personal and professional.

One of those is a bridal boutique called Engage.

Engage targets Gen X and Gen Y (and, soon, Gen Z) consumers with a technology- and custom design- driven model. There is currently one Engage by Hyde Park store, and it’s connected to the jeweler’s Denver location.

Another is the Gioielli Group, the East Coast-based jewelry company that distributes Italian brands Pesavento and Alessandra Donà in the United States.

20191211 Michael PollakMichael Pollak As Pollak steps back into a supporting role for Gross and other executives, including Director of Stores Kathy Dobos, Hyde Park is preparing for a 2020 that will bring growth and change.

Currently, the company has three Hyde Park Jewelers stores—in Denver, Phoenix and Newport Beach, California.

(The company bought longstanding Newport Beach independent Traditional Jewelers in 2012 and changed the store’s name to Hyde Park last year.)

The company also operates two Rolex, two Breitling, one Hublot, one IWC and one Roberto Coin boutique, as well as Engage.

Pollak said the company is slated to open a third Rolex store, in Scottsdale, Arizona, in the third quarter of 2020.

The Roberto Coin boutique will become an Omega store in the first quarter, and the Hyde Park Jewelers store will move to Scottsdale after 20 years in Phoenix.

20191211 EngageEngage by Hyde Park is targeted at Generation X and millennial engagement ring shoppers, with a focus on technology and customization.

Pollak said as part of his pivot from CEO to non-executive chairman, he will be less visible in the industry.

He’s already told his company’s brand partners they can expect to see him at fewer trade shows and industry dinners going forward.

In addition to his professional passion projects, Engage and the Gioielli Group, Pollak said he wants to focus on philanthropic endeavors, including his work with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which is slated to open the Museum of Tolerance in the center of Jerusalem next year.

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