Created By: North Dakota State University
Wimmer’s Diamonds: “Walk a Flight to Buy Right”
During the Fargo fire of 1893 the location was home to a bank as well as a barber shop which was located in the basement with the bank offices on the second level. By some stroke of luck this particular block remained untouched by the fire and remains one of the oldest structures in Fargo. The location did not remain the residence of a bank and barber for long, following their departure the site became a high-end ladies clothing store. In the mid-1940s the lot became available and Wimmer’s Jewelry(now named Wimmer’s Diamonds) moved in and has remained under their ownership ever since.
Wimmer’s Diamonds has been a source of economic stability in downtown Fargo for almost a century. Amazingly the store and its branch in West Acres Mall has remained a locally owned family business to this day. The Wimmer’s legacy began with Fred Wimmer in 1919 who immigrated from Budapest, Hungary in 1907. Fred Wimmer, whose name was possibly changed from “Wümmer” during the immigration process, was an apprentice to a master jeweler in Hungary. Upon arrival to New York, Fred Wimmer and his wife Gizalla whom he married in the United States, lived in the Bronx. He was employed as a chaser in the bridge work industry according to the Federal Census of 1910. Eventually Wimmer found work at the world famous Tiffany and Company and then moved westward to Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Jewelry making was Fred Wimmer’s passion, he was a craftsman who worked with his hands with a meticulous eye for detail. Wimmer was trained in traditional jewelry making techniques, before mass production became the norm. Designs were carefully crafted by hand, burnished into the metal. His training as an artisan influenced his eye for perfection and future professional ventures. A friend of Fred Wimmer’s opened a company called Ostbye and Anderson, which is still in existence today and Wimmer worked there for a while before going to Owatanna, Minnesota, to work for Jostens. While at Jostens, Wimmer became more acquainted with wholesale manufacturing which motivated him to move to Fargo and start his own plant in 1919.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Fargo In Flames