BY ASHA MAHADEVAN
BACKGROUND: Harold Rutgers was born and raised in Flushing. His father Victor was a jewelry designer who opened a jewelry store in Great Neck in 1962. Rutgers, a certified gemologist, joined the family business and opened Bell Family Jewelers in Bayside in 1987.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Rutgers is associated with Jewelers For Children. It is a nonprofit organization that donates to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Rutgers has a box and a sign in his store that states that he won’t charge customers for services such as jewelry cleaning.
Instead, they can donate a sum of their choice to the charity by dropping it in the box. Rutgers said that after he started this initiative 10 years ago, he found that people come to his store for the services because they also get the opportunity to give back at the same time. This year, he has already collected more than $1,500 and hopes to surpass that and collect $2,000 next year.
GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT: “Being able to give back to the wonderful community,” said Rutgers. “Just being able to give back every day makes me feel great. I try to teach my two children to do the same.”
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “Staying competitive in the business, keeping prices reasonable with today’s rising costs,” said Rutgers. “It’s a tough business environment.”
INSPIRATION: “My father,” said Rutgers. “He gave me an engraved ID bracelet when I went to high school that said, ‘The secret to success is consistency to purpose.’ That’s the rule I live by.”
- Star of Queens: Suzanne Bettis, assistant district attorney, Iraq veteran
- Star of Queens: Michael Brothers, chairman of the board, NYFAC Foundation
- Star of Queens: Dr. Nicholas Rallis, volunteer, Free to Smile Foundation