D.J. Bitzan Jewelers, Waite Park, MN


Dick Bitzan, CEO, CG, GG – owns and operates D. J. Bitzan Jewelers, Waite Park, MN. The store is a free-standing 4400 square foot business which has 18 full time employees with 2 part time employees. D. J. Bitzan's mission is to Celebrate Life's Moments, by creating client experiences through

exceptional service, unparalleled assortment, and real lasting value. Equally important is a commitment to family, employees, and the Central MN Community. Don Bitzan founded the company in 1966. Dick Bitzan, Don's son, joined the business in 1973, and today Dick and his daughter Erin, own and operate the business.

What principles have contributed to your success?

Dick feels the most important element is dealing with integrity -- with clients, with employees, and with vendors. He feels actively engaging and supporting in many aspects of their community, including financially supporting over 250 nonprofit organizations annually, have helped D J Bitzan become an important community asset. Also, a never-ending Improvement Campaign in their organization keeps D J Bitzan moving forward every day.

What are your best sellers and what type of merchandise do you look for in your store?

At D J Bitzan we try to offer products our clients will not see in other stores in Central MN. We look for unique pieces -- including many one-of-a-kind, often with interesting and unique gemstones. We also specialize in Fine Swiss watches, which many jewelers no longer do. And, of course, bridal continues to be our bread and butter.

What do you love most about your business?

I think most of us would agree the Best part of this business is the privilege to help our clients at many of the most joy-filled times in their lives. This never gets old. It is fun everyday- to share someone's love story, their achievements, their family's milestones. We make so many lifelong friendships through our professional lives! Working with my daughter Erin and our awesome staff makes every work day fun!

What have been the biggest challenges?

The biggest professional challenge for many in our industry came during the mortgage crisis in 2007-2008. Business was seriously affected, and the lack of available consumer credit made it hard to maintain our growth. We adjusted our offerings, adding different products and price points to encourage clients to continue to buy fine jewelry -- even when economic times were not great for so many of them. We examined every expense, and reduced total expenses by 11% without any layoffs. We were in the process of designing and building a new free-standing store during these challenging years...so getting sleep was sometimes difficult too. Community Affiliations:

Past and Present Leadership positions and Partnerships with dozens of organizations including:

United Way of Central MN, Central MN Habitat for Humanity, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, CentraCare Health System, St. Cloud Hospital, St. Cloud State University, GREAT Theater, Paramount Arts, Central MN Community Foundation, Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Non-professional Passions and Hobbies:

Dick's interests include: above all Time with Family- also Travel, Saltwater Fishing, Boating, Exercising, Gardening, Live Theatre,and Wheel Pottery. A particular highlight for Dick was his Summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in 2011.

View their site at https://www.djbitzan.com

Caitlin Ninedorf