Scroll to top

Our History

Charles Ginsberg arrived in New York harbor in 1888 as a 14 year old from Russia with experience in repairing clocks. He opened the first storefront in Leavenworth, KS. As Kansas City grew past Leavenworth in size, he moved the store to Kansas City. Isadore Ginsberg was his first-born son in 1898. Isadore, or Izzy as he was later known, stayed in school until he completed 6th grade. His help was then needed to support the family. Izzy opened his first store-front business in early 1922, a pawn shop in Sedalia after he left the Kansas City area. Izzy and his wife Rose had three children, Herman, Stan, and Lou. They are featured in the picture on the right hand side.

Shortly after Izzy’s first son Herman was born, he Izzy discovered Cedar Rapids, Iowa to be like Paris compared to Sedalia and took the opportunity to move the business and his family north. Louis Ginsberg grew up in the business with his two brothers. The three boys soon followed Izzy into the business not only maintaining what Charles started, but expanding Ginsberg Jewelers into a five-store retail chain, with two stores in Cedar Rapids, one store in Iowa City, and two stores in Des Moines. They also replaced the pawn shop fare with fine jewelry, crystal, silver, and Swiss time pieces.

In 1985 Mark Ginsberg came back from Chicago, bought the jewelry store in Iowa City and decided he would begin deconstructing the original model. His goal: to change the personality and the psychology of the space. Chung-Hi Choo wanted to Mark explained, he was looking for something more out of his professional life than just selling jewelry. “My life has to be exciting” Ginsberg said, with the crisp effervescence comparable only to that found in a Dom Perignon. “Excitement comes with taking risks, doing what I believe in, and creating something where there was nothing before.” His idea was to have a space that was a store and fine arts gallery where many cultural events could be sponsored. Mark tried to introduce a new concept in art for people who might not feel comfortable going into an art gallery or into a secluded room in a library for a poetry reading. The appeal of a space right in the heart of Iowa City’s downtown district, where you could feel comfortable to attend such events.

The business is forever evolving and growing to be as creative and unique to suit the customer’s needs. The building has been remodeled many times to fit the needs and growth of the business. The 2nd floor was originally a gallery space, and has became in recent years a custom design studio. The business has also ventured into 3D Prototyping and wants to help make your concept a reality.