Longtime Brighton jeweler makes unique holiday offer, gives back to the community

By: Ken Cross | December 11, 2011

When luxury purchases are up, it’s a good sign for the economy. And Barb Binkley of Cooper & Binkley Jewelers says her customers are seeking higher-end jewelry this holiday season.

The Brighton jeweler, in business in the same location since 1949, has always had a loyal customer following. But in past years, Binkley has sought more affordable pieces for her inventory, and that’s starting to change, she says.

That means Cooper & Binkley is taking quite a risk with its most recent promotion – depending on your faith in the Detroit Lions football team, that is. If the Lions hold the Green Bay Packers scoreless in regulation play of the New Year’s Day game, the jeweler will provide a full refund – less sales tax — to any purchases made between Nov. 11 and Christmas Eve.

Binkley said she’s seen retailers make similar offers. “Detroit’s a sports town,” she says. “When we thought about doing something, we decided to make it sports-oriented.”

But scoreless? Really? “You just don’t know what’s going to happen,” Binkley says, noting that the game is in an open arena, where the weather could hinder both teams from scoring.

It’s no coincidence that Cooper & Binkley has been in the same location – having moved to a temporary location in 2000 while renovating the West Main store – for more than 60 years. The Binkleys live in Brighton and are an integral part of the community, chairing many Brighton events and helping with local charities.

In fact, Cooper & Binkley has donated to more than 70 charities this year, including a St. Joseph Mercy Livingston event where they placed three half-carat diamonds inside glasses of ice served to guests, and watched them eagerly await the melting to see who won.

“We have a never-say-no policy when it comes to donations,” Binkley says. “The community has supported us, so whatever we can do to help out, we’ll do.”

“We are so ingrained in Brighton and so involved in the community,” Binkley says.  

That, and the importance of family to the Binkleys, has kept the owners from adding locations. Because their business philosophy is to integrate themselves into the community, they’d have to do that with any community they opened up shop in, Binkley says, and that takes a lot of time and effort. They’d rather spend that time with their families and maintain their Brighton presence as they always have, she says.

The business itself is rooted in family. Opened in 1949 by Marshall Cooper as Cooper Jewelers, it changed into Binkley hands in 1971. When Binkley and her husband took over the business and renovated the store, they changed the name to Cooper & Binkley.

Brighton-area residents are a big part of Cooper & Binkely’s business, but the jeweler also sees new generations of Brighton residents coming in to choose their gifts, wedding rings and other pieces. “We have been around for so long,” she says. “We have a loyal customer following.”

What’s popular now at Cooper & Binkley? Italian sterling silver, big cuff bracelets and ICE watches with silicone bands and in all different colors (the pink one in the photograph retails for $110). Also popular – ever-popular according to Binkley – are Simon G 18-karat gold pieces. Cooper & Binkley is the only Livingston County jeweler that sells these designs.

Customized pieces are also growing in popularity. Whether customers want to rework the setting of a family heirloom, design their wedding rings or simply create something unique that no one else has, Cooper & Binkley can take care of it for them.

Visit Cooper & Binkley at 105 West Main in Brighton, call (810) 227-2221 or visit www.facebook.com/cooperandbinkleyjewelers. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.              


As an aside, Barb Binkley can’t say enough good things about her Chevy Suburban. At a recent North American Auto Show, she and her husband decided to look around for something similar to the Suburban, and ended up talking to the folks at the Suburban display. “We are die hard Suburban fans,” Binkley says. “There’s nothing like the Chevy Suburban.”