BISBEE — The Gold Shop opened in Bisbee a week after the stock market lost 22 percent on Black Monday in October 1987. It was an unpropitious beginning to a business that celebrates its 30th anniversary of continuous operation this month.

Along the way, owner Randall Pipkorn developed an interesting business model, acquired a solid customer base, bought and sold an inn and, most interestingly, one of his best customers became his business partner, wife, graduate gemologist and gemstone buyer.

The Gold Shop displays Randall’s original designs and handmade pieces. Of particular interest is his jewelry utilizing rare Bisbee turquoise.

Randall and Nancy have built a successful business through word of mouth and their mailing list of more than 4,000 customers.  Once a year, they inform their patrons of new jewelry offerings as well as their annual sale. This year, to celebrate their 30 years in business, they will be having an anniversary sale beginning in November.

The Pipkorns do not have a website or Facebook page.  In this era of electronic ubiquity, it seems counterintuitive. But it makes sense to the Pipkorns, who explain that when unique jewelry pieces are sold on internet sites, those designs are often copied and mass produced.  The artisan’s creative product has been stolen.

When you stop by the shop, Randall likely will be busy creating the staples of their business: Bisbee turquoise jewelry set in 14-karat gold and sterling silver.

Submitted by Fred Miller