Merkley Kendrick Jewelers, an AGS certified jeweler, has been providing fine jewelry to Louisville families since 1832. Brian Merkley, the third generation in the Merkley family business, is the current president. Here at Merkley Kendrick Jewelers, we strive to enrich our client’s lives, by encouraging a pause from life’s frantic pace to celebrate and enjoy life with those we love the most. Our core means of doing so is by assisting clients in expressing emotions and memorializing events with high-end watches, gems, and jewelry.
“It has been, and continues to be, a great privilege to serve our clients, some across multiple generations of their families, with their jewelry selections. Sharing in their joy and helping to commerate special occasions in their lives brings great fulfillment to my work and is the reason I love what I do.”
-Brian Merkley, President & CEO
After apprenticing with a Louisville jeweler named W.C. Beard, William P. Kendrick partnered with James Lemon in 1832 to form Lemon and Kendrick Jewelers located at Fourth and Main. In 1841, due to the panic of 1837, Lemon and Kendrick were forced to liquidate. However, William P. Kendrick reopened shortly after on Fourth Street as Kendrick Jewelers in 1842. In 1873, William P. Kendrick’s son, William C. Kendrick, joined the family business, and it was renamed Kendrick & Son Jewelers, located at 114 Main Street. The store then jumped to 336 Fourth Street in 1875 and 110 Fourth Street in 1877.
Shortly after William P. Kendrick’s death in 1880, another generation of Kendricks joined the family business with George P. Kendrick entering the fold. He and his father, William C. Kendrick, changed the name to Wm. Kendrick’s Sons. Kendrick’s Sons briefly ceased business operations in 1929 as a result of the great depression, but they quickly reopened in 1932.
Joseph C. Merkley, a native of Jasper, Indiana, moved to St. Louis in 1928 to study the watchmaking trade. He came to Louisville in the 1930s working as a watchmaker for a local jeweler, Elmer L. Gray. Joseph Merkley went on to become co-owner, and their store was renamed Gray and Merkley Jewelers. Gray died in 1957 and passed full ownership over to the Merkley family.
In the 1960s, Joseph Merkley’s sons, William and Donald, joined the family business, and the second location of Gray and Merkley Jewelers was opened in the old Vogue Theater Center in St. Matthews. The Merkley’s finally purchased Wm Kendrick’s Sons in 1966, closed the downtown location, and changed the name to Merkley Kendrick Jewelers. The Current Chenoweth Lane location opened for business in 1971.
William’s daughter Nanette joined Merkley Kendrick Jewelers in 1988 and is the current CFO. The current president Brian Merkley began working at the store in 1995 upon graduating from Loyola University; his father William officially retired in 2011. Merkley Kendrick Jewelers celebrated its 185 birthday in 2017.