Victor Hurst opened the Hurst Loan Office in 1908 at 612 Main Street in Kansas City, Missouri – in what is now the historic City Market area. By the 1920s, business was going well for Victor and he decided to move his store to 18th and Vine which was, and still is, in the heart of Kansas City’s Jazz District.
By this time, Victor’s son Ben Hurst joined his father in the business and they opened a second location at 12th and Highland in Kansas City, Missouri. Both stores sold everything from engagement ring sets and watches to optical eyewear and luggage to tableware and fine china. Ben’s stores also provided eye exams and had an optical department. Ben Hurst’s superior business ethics of providing exceptional service and honesty to every customer gave him the nickname “Honest Ben,” provided by his customers.
As business continued to grow for “Honest Ben,” he always saw a need to help others. From 1929 to 1930 he made several trips to New York, and purchased more than 2,000 winter coats for the underprivileged families of Kansas City.
By 1938, Morton L. Hurst, Ben's youngest son who was 12, started working for his father as an errand boy. In 1939, Ben combined the 18th and Vine and Main locations to create Hurst’s Diamond Shop at 12th and Main in downtown Kansas City. Along with jewelry, Ben continued to sell items such as clothing, fur coats, luggage and musical instruments.
In 1967, Hurst Diamond Shop joined the prestigious Leading Jewelers Guild® and continues to be a proud member 46 years later!
In 1968, Morton purchased the business from his father and became President. Like his father, he continued to service customers with the same honesty, loyalty and trust. As Morton grew the business he instilled the help of his oldest son, Michael A. Hurst.
Following in both his grandfather’s and father's footsteps, 13-year old Michael started his career as an errand boy working after school at the store. Rick Hurst, Morton’s youngest son also helped at the store, as did his daughter, Deanna, and others in the family – including his wife Shirley. Shortly thereafter, Michael became the Vice President alongside his father.
By 1982, Morton and Michael expanded and opened a location in the Indian Springs Shopping Center in Kansas City, Kansas. During the 1980s, Morton, Michael and Rick also opened mall locations in Jefferson City, Joplin and Columbia, Missouri (current store: 2300 Bernadette Dr Ste 410).
Fast-forward to January of 1987, when Michael’s son, Marcus, was born. “You’re never too young to start,” Morton told a Kansas City newspaper in an interview as he put a jeweler’s loupe (a small magnifying glass) in 10-month-old Marcus’ hand. “Diamonds continue to pour for five generations,” said Morton. That same year, Morton moved the 12th and Main location to the Town Pavilion Mall in downtown Kansas City.
In 1992, Hurst Diamond Shop changed its name to Hurst Fine Diamonds. That same year, Michael further introduced his then five-year-old son Marcus to the family jewelry tradition. Marcus would accompany Morton and Michael to the family’s stores and enjoyed helping clean the countertops, clean jewelry, and greet customers. Marcus would watch Morton and Michael as they hand-selected loose diamonds, gemstones and fine jewelry that would end up in the stores and ultimately put a smile on Hurst’s happy customers’ faces.
By 2001, Morton and Michael opened a store at 31st and Iowa Street in Lawrence, Kansas. In 2005, Morton retired and Michael became President and General Manager, while Marcus attended the University of Kansas, working part-time at the Lawrence, Kansas location during school. After graduating from KU, Marcus began to work full-time for the family business.
In late 2014, the Lawrence, KS location was relocated to the northwest corner of 23rd & Louisiana Street (520 W 23rd Street).
Today, the Hurst family still owns and operates their diamond and jewelry center in Lawrence, Kansas at the northwest corner of 23rd Street and Lousiana Street. Michael Hurst continues his role as President and Marcus Hurst serves as General Manager.
For 110 years and four generations, Victor and Honest Ben's dream still remains intact. Hurst Diamonds is proud to carry on the same loyalty, fairness, tradition and honesty established by Victor and Honest Ben.
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