Downtown Los Banos fixture calling it quits

By Thaddeus Miller / tmiller@losbanosenterprise.comDecember 13, 2012 

After 62 years, the jewelry store will close its doors sometime after the holidays, according to owner Tom Rouch, the Pereiras' nephew.

"After 37 years of working, it's time to do something else," the 56-year-old said. "I'm tired of doing six days a week, and 60-70 hours a week."

Rouch, a Los Banos native, attended California State University, Sacramento, but never finished, because he returned to the westside to work for his uncle in 1975. He regrets not finishing school, a decision he called a "big mistake."

Rouch and wife Laurie, married in 1986; they, took over Pereira Jewelers in 1990. The store, now at 1040 Sixth St., was located across the street until 2004.

Altogether, Rouch said, his family has been in Los Banos since just after the turn of the 20th century.

Rouch has a new profession lined up, but declined to elaborate. He said running a mom-and-pop business, which may be the dream of many, is hard work.

"My wife and I haven't had a vacation in 16 years," Rouch said, adding it's also rare that the couple can make holiday get-togethers.

When you're the face of the business, he said, customers expect to deal with you and you alone.

Laurie Rouch, 49, said the explosion of online shopping adds another hurdle for mom-and-pops businesses. She has begun her own real estate ventures, she said, and will continue them into retirement.

"It's bittersweet, for sure," she said. "It's an end of an era and it's (got) all the family history, but it's exciting."

The Rouches started closeout sales Dec. 4, and said they will continue through the holidays until everything's gone. They're also giving away a diamond and green tourmaline necklace through a raffle, free of charge.

Tom Rouch said he's reached an age where he can make a career change and still devote several years to his new profession. He said he won't get out of the jewelry business altogether, since he's keeping his work bench.

"It was really hard to do this," he said, "but it's time."

Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanosenterprise.com.

Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos enterprise.com.

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