Palmer’s Jewelry on Sycamore Street is a bastion of Kokomo’s history and a remaining testament to the era of Main Street America. Bob Freed and his wife, Frances, used almost every dollar he had earned fighting in World War II to purchase Palmer’s Jewelry from Palmer Gevirtz in 1946. Buying the store left the Freeds with too little money to change the sign and the name of the business. It earned Freed the misnomer of “Mr. Palmer.” Freed left his business in the 1950s to fight in the Korean War. The military promoted him to 1st lieutenant and awarded him with a Legion of Merit. Meanwhile, the store has held strong through recessions and as restaurants and retailers came and went around the store. He held onto the mentality that his colleagues said made the store one of the city’s favorites: Treat the customers well. Freed was the president of Temple B’nai Israel of Kokomo, the president of the Kokomo YMCA’s board of directors, a board member of the Kokomo Civic Theatre, a 50-year Mason, a Shriner, a member of the Scottish Rite, a member of B’nai B’rith and a member of the National Retail Jewelers Association. He died in 2011 at age 93. Palmer’s Jewelry is still a family business and is now owned by Bob Freed’s son, Mike Freed, who took over ownership of the family business in 1989.
- KT File Photo