House of Watches owners honored by city on eve of retirement and store closings

Bob and Debbie Berman, Purzycki, Mardian, and Gil Berman.

Bob and Debbie Berman, Mayor Purzycki, Mardian and Gil Berman

Mayor Mike Purzycki  congratulated the Berman family – Bob and Debbie, and Gil and Mardian – of House of Watches and Fine Jewelry – on their retirement this month after nearly 75 years in business.

The popular Wilmington jewelry store was started by Gerry and Ted Berman in 1944.

Purzycki presented a proclamation   to Debbie, Bob, Gil and Mardian Berman for being “an example of the strong foundation of successful small businesses in the city, whose long-term reputation for quality and exemplary customer service has made it a household name and valued brand.”

“The Berman family has been offering personal and individual service for more than seven decades, and we are sorry to see them go,” Purzycki said. the Mayor. “Still, this is a well-earned retirement after so many years of selling engagement rings, anniversary presents and birthday gifts to generations of Wilmingtonians, and even serving as the location for the occasional marriage proposal.” 


Gerry Berman saved money while Ted was overseas during WW II, and upon his return Ted attended the Philadelphia School of Horology to become a watchmaker. In May of 1944 the couple opened House of Watches and at 1301 Washington Street in Wilmington.  Sons Gilbert (1957) and Bob (1970) joined and helped expand the business, changing the name to House of Watches and Fine Jewelry. In 1979 moved the store to its present location at 1330 Washington Street.

Gil Berman and Bob’s wife, Debbie, opened the family’s second store at 2505 Concord Pike in 1974, with Gil’s wife Mardian joining in 1975 and continuing the Berman family tradition. Both full-service jewelry stores will close their doors  on Monday, December 31.