Ken K. Thompson opened the first Ken K Thompson Jewelry store in 1935 with one small watch display case and a skilled hand for watch repair. For several years, he focused on repairing and servicing pocket watches for railroad conductors as they passed through town on the railroad. Ken K Thompson gained recognition for his quality watch repair craftsmanship, and that success eventually followed him to Bemidji, MN where the store expanded into selling, servicing, and designing beautiful jewelry.
Ken K Thompson jewelry opened in 1935 in the small town of Cass Lake, MN and was primarily focused on watch repairs and sales for booming railroads of the area. Unlike most young men during the Great Depression who took up professions involving physical labor, Ken took a different approach and became proficient in watch repair. It was widely known there was no watch or clock Ken couldn’t repair and no watch part he couldn’t make at his watch bench.
Building on the success Ken had with watch repairs, Ken K Thompson Jewelry made the move to Bemidji, MN in the mid 1950’s and introduced the 2nd generation of family ownership into the business, Dewain Thompson. Dewain expanded the business with new services and additional jewelry, and Ken K’s reputation continued to grow for highly personalized service and trust in the area. The first little store in Cass Lake had transitioned into a prominent downtown location in Bemidji with a full service jewelry department, expert watch repair, engraving and awards, and giftware that was hard to find anywhere else in northern Minnesota. Then in 1980, Ken K’s added a second location in the Paul Bunyan Mall, further adding to the success of the downtown location. The present day Ken K Thompson Jewelry relocated in 2012 and is equipped with the latest in jewelry fabricating and customization tools.
Now in our 4th generation of family ownership, Ken K’s is the largest independent jewelry store in northern Minnesota with the largest selection of diamonds and fine jewelry north of the Twin Cities. We still distinguish ourselves by custom designing, hand fabricating, and repairing jewelry in house with the addition of custom laser engraving, gifts, awards, and more.
Dale, Brandon, and Brittany are now the 3rd and 4th generation in Ken K Thompson, and the business continues to thrive in Bemidji. With an emphasis on what separates Ken K Thompson from other stores- personal customer service, trust in the jewelry we work on, and beautiful quality handmade pieces of jewelry our customers can cherish for years to come. We are proud to carry on our tradition started over 85 years ago, and we take pride in selecting the best and brightest diamonds from conflict free sources from around the world. We continue to be committed to product excellence, exceptional value, and superior customer service. We invite you to see why generations of customers have made Ken K Thompson their jeweler for life.
Our philosophy today is the same as when Ken first opened the doors in 1935: When a customer leaves our store, he or she will go away completely satisfied and in love with their new jewelry. This is our commitment to you:
- Largest full service jewelry and watch store in Northern Minnesota
- Ken K Collection, A beautiful selection of jewelry found only at Ken K’s
- The largest selection of loose diamonds in the area
- Custom designed jewelry and repairs by Ken K Craftsmen
Ken K. Thompson at his repair desk. 1942.
Ken and Martha Thompson in the Cass Lake, MN store. 1944.
Martha & son Dewain helping customers in the Bemidji, MN store. 1955.
Ken, Martha, Dewain and Ethel Thompson. 1979.
The Bemidji Pioneer
From left, Dennis, Dale, Dean and their father, Dewain Thompson, serve Ken K. Thompson Jewelry customer BarbMcDowell.
Pioneer Photo by: Monte Draper
Generations of Jewels
The third generation of Thompson's, from left: Dennis, Dean and Dale, stand behind a display case. They presentlyhave two locations, downtown Bemidji and in the Paul Bunyan Mall, offering jewelry, custom designs and repair.
PioneerPhoto by: Monte Draper