Providing Louisville Residents with
Fine Jewelry for 180 Years
Merkley Kendrick Jewelers has been a leader in fine jewelry sales and design in Louisville for more than a century. Four families, over nine generations combined resulting in what is today, Merkley Kendrick Jewelers.
William P. Kendrick began an apprenticeship with Louisville jeweler, W. C. Beard.
William P. Kendrick partnered with James I. Lemon to form Lemon & Kendrick Jewelers, a successful jewelry and clock shop at Fourth & Main.
Lemon & Kendrick was forced to liquidate due to the Panic of 1837. The partners split amicably, with Lemon later naming his son after Kendrick.
William P. Kendrick opened Kendrick Jewelers on Fourth Street. He began with assets and capital amounting to $150.
Kendrick Jewelers annual profits went from $765 to $1,299. Once again financially stable, William P. Kendrick went on to become a highly respected Louisville businessman.
Kendrick's son, William C., joined the business as a partner. Kendrick Jewelers became Wm. Kendrick & Son Jewelers, located at 114 Main Street.
The store moved to 336 Fourth Street.
The store moved again, this time to 110 Fourth Street.
William P. Kendrick passed away. His grandson, George P. Kendrick, joins the family business, which is renamed Wm. Kendrick Sons.
Joseph C. Merkley was born in Jasper, Indiana. His father was a farmer who later owned a small grocery.
Joseph C. Merkley, after working in the jewelry business with his brother at a local store, studied the watch making trade in St. Louis, Missouri.
Wm. Kendrick Sons was temporarily closed due to the 1929 depression. It reopened in 1932.
Joseph C. Merkley moved to Louisville and began working as a watch maker for Elmer L. Gray, a local jewelry store owner.
William P. Kendrick, grandson of William C. Kendrick, joined the business at the close of World War I. The business eventually passed to him and a fourth generation member of the family, William Kendrick Ewing.
Elmer L. Gray invited Joseph Merkley to partner as co-owner of the store, which became Gray and Merkley Jewelers, located first at Eighteen and Oak, and later at Southland Terrace Shopping Center.
Elmer L. Gray died at the age of 89, passing full ownership of Gray and Merkley Jewelers to the Merkley family.
Joseph Merkley's sons Donald J. and William E. joined the business. They opened a second Gray and Merkley Jewelers store in the old Vogue Theater Center in St. Matthews.
The Merkleys purchase Wm. Kendrick Sons, close the downtown location, and rename the business Merkley Kendrick Jewelers.
The current location at 138 Chenoweth Lane was opened, and the two previous locations were closed.
Sons William E. Merkley and Donald J. Merkley took ownership of the family business.
A second store in Lexington, Kentucky was opened.
Joseph C. Merkley passed on, after remaining actively involved in all three stores until his death.
A Sacred Heart Academy and University of Louisville graduate, Nanette Merkley Vale joined the business full time, eventually taking over as Accounting Director.
Donald J. Merkley exited the partnership, and the Southland Terrace and Lexington stores were closed shortly afterward. Although William (Bill) Merkley and his wife Carolyn received a lucrative offer, they decided instead to continue the family business.
A graduate of Trinity High School and Loyola University, Brian S. Merkley joined the business, beginning five years of intensive mentoring from his father.
Brian S. Merkley became Vice President of Merkley Kendrick Jewelers.
Looking ahead to the next generation, Bill and Carolyn Merkley began succession planning.
Brian S. Merkley took ownership of the Merkley Kendrick Jewelers.
In November 2011, Bill Merkley officially retired, leaving the company in son Brian's capable hands