By: Scott Nishimura1
Abram Bock was working as a jewelry apprentice in St. Petersburg, Russia, when he married the daughter of his instructor. The two then moved to Memel, Germany, in 1928 and started their own jewelry business.
From there, the story takes a turn as, a few years later, these Jewish immigrants found themselves thrust in the midst of the world’s biggest conflict.
In 1939, the family store was confiscated by Nazis, and the family suffered through the Holocaust. Abram’s story, like so many millions during this time, included the loss of those he cared for, those he shared blood with and those he loved unconditionally — he lost his wife, two daughters and a grandchild.
Shoulders undoubtedly stooped and face blanketed with his recent heartbreak, Abram nonetheless managed to pick up the pieces after the liberation of the concentration camps. Abram, his son, Harry, and his daughter, Ali, moved to meet Abram’s brothers in Dallas. In memory of their lost loved ones, the Bock family began a jewelry repair shop in Dallas and, through a few connections, began selling diamonds.
After Abram’s passing, Harry took over the family business in 1968. He learned English on his own, studied retailing at Washington University in St. Louis and opened the first Bachendorf’s in 1977.
Harry’s son, Lawrence, would eventually inherit the family business after his father’s death in 2010. Lawrence has since shared his father’s artifacts with the Dallas Holocaust Museum and continues to donate to local entities like Bass Performance Hall.
Known for its custom pieces and collections by brands like Rolex, Mikimoto, Omega and Tag Heuer, Bachendorf’s opened its third store at The Shops at Clearfork in November. And the local mainstay has just two other locations — Galleria Dallas and the Plaza at Preston Center.
Despite local success and a path clear of many of the natural obstacles that come with growing a business, Lawrence can’t imagine expanding outside Texas, even after 40 years in the jewelry industry.
“It would be so much more difficult to have a hands-on experience,” he said. “That service is a big part of the company’s values.”
Living by the adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” the Clearfork store, which first opened its doors Nov. 23, will mirror the Dallas stores in the hopes of similar success. While Lawrence is unsure what the future will have in store for his family and the store, he does know that he will always try to help shape the DFW community, just like the community has helped shape his family and business.
For Lawrence, growing the business is a way to carry on his father and grandfather’s legacies — especially in Fort Worth, “because our values are the same as the [people’s].”
“From what my dad has survived, he has given me the internal drive to continue the family business,” Lawrence said. “He will always be in my mind, heart and soul.”
By: Scott Nishimura1