28 RETAILER HALL OF FAME 2019 ago, with an MBA in entrepreneurial management and some corpo- rate-world experience under her belt. “It was right in the middle of that kind of social media pickup from zero to 60,” saysAlexis, “and timing couldn’t have been better in terms of the needs of the business and the impact I could make by joining it.” “She’s young, she’s a millennial and she has different ideas, which helps guide us into the future,” says Steve of his 32-year-old daughter. “With our traditional thoughts and her new innovations it’s been a very important part of our growth.” Working with her parents on a daily basis has demonstrated to Alexis that career passion is sustainable through decades. “Every day is an adventure with them,” she says. “They have an infec- tious level of energy and there never seems to be a day off for that energy. “They’re so passionate about what they do and they’re so enthusias- tic. My dad walks into the store every morning whistling.” The next step in the company’s growth is a unique venture that would be easy to get excited about. The Padises are set to own and operate the first Forevermark boutique in the United States, which will be located in Walnut Creek, California. “I see that as a turning point,” Steve says. “We recognized early that De Beers had the ability to spend marketing dollars and that’s very important to establish a brand. When you sell generic diamonds the margins are very minimal and really unsustainable, so we moved into Forevermark diamonds because we believe in them, and it allows us an avenue to sell what we feel is the best diamond at a fair price.” Judy adds: “The Forevermark store will create the next chapter. If this one works well, hopefully we’ll open others.” A LEGACY FOR THE FUTURE Steve and Judy have continuously demonstrated their ability to embrace new avenues of growth for Padis Jewelry. One direction they’re certain of, moving forward, is within their own family. In March 2019, they elected Alexis president of the company, with Steve stepping into the role of chairman. “I don’t think me taking over as president is a sign of them slowing down, by any means,” says Alexis, “but it’s a nice nod that they’re looking to share some of the responsibilities and are looking to grow the company in a way where they need to take on somebody else in command.” In addition to their innovative thinking, Alexis wants to perpetu- ate her parents’ values, values like treating everyone with respect and kindness. “They’re some of the most generous and loving people I know. I think that’s been the biggest joy for me in getting to work with them in the jewelry business every day—getting to know them as people and as friends. I would choose them as friends [even if we weren’t related].” Steve and Judy say if they could go back and do something differ- ently in their careers, they wouldn’t. What they value the most is the relationships they’ve made. “We have such amazing clients,” Judy says. “The people we meet become our friends. We vacation with some of them. We’ve been to their weddings and baptisms. You become a part of people’s lives. We both just love what we do.” The Padises so enjoy their work that at times it’s difficult for them to take a break. “When we go on vacation, we go to jewelry stores,” says Judy. Steve concurs: “If we vacation for more than two or three days, I can’t wait to get back to work.” Though growing upAlexis didn’t know if she would join the family business, her first engagement ring sale instilled in her the magic of selling jewelry that marks milestones. She intends to carry forward the passion evident in her parents, the passion that eventually drew her into the company. “Being a jeweler is the dream job because, as I found out with that first sale, you’re selling somebody a piece of jewelry that becomes such an important part of her or his life and there’s nothing better than being involved in that moment. “It’s truly something special and something that all three of us live and breathe. I want to keep that passion going.” And, lest Alexis forget Padis Jewelry’s humble beginnings 40 years ago, she had one of her father’s original beaded necklaces framed and hung in the office, a constant reminder of the company’s journey. The Padises’ four children, from left to right: Christina (Padis) Ritter, Steve Padis Jr., George Padis, and Alexis Padis. Alexis was named president of Padis Jewelry in March. “Every day is an adventure with them. They have an infectious level of energy and there never seems to be a day off for that energy. My dad walks into the store every morning whistling.” —Alexis Padis, on her parents 2019 RETAILER HALL OF FAME JUDY AND STEVE PADIS