Laiti Jewelers shines in downtown Houghton

HOUGHTON – For nearly 20 years, Laiti Jewelers occupied a familiar corner of the Copper Country Mall. Today, customers can find the longstanding family business in downtown Houghton.

In 2010, fourth-generation jeweler Mark Butke reopened Laiti Jewelers next to the Ambassador on Shelden Avenue. With its natural-stone and glass window facade, the business makes a sleek addition to Houghton’s downtown shopping experience.

“It was always a dream of mine to recreate the same type of store my father worked at when I was a kid,” he said. “We actually got the blueprints from the original store and were able to recreate it.”

The store his father, Robert Butke, worked at in downstate Traverse City was called Martineks Jewelers and was “the most beautiful store in the world.” Growing up, Mark started out helping his dad with displays, marveling at the store’s charm and elegance. Tiffany colored lamps, large glass windows and dark-stained wood trim left an impression on him.

“We have pictures from the old store,” he said. “That’s where the idea for the front glass and curved ceilings comes from. We upgraded with oak and a little brighter wood.”

While plenty of natural light enters the store through the large windows, three crystal chandeliers at the center of the showroom ceiling cast an elegant glow over the glass display cases.

Laiti Jewelers is the largest jeweler in the three-county area with the largest inventory of engagement rings. Mark said he works with well over 1,000 different companies to help customers find what they’re looking for. Another option is one-of-a-kind custom-made jewelry.

“We’ve been doing that for over 20 years,” he said. “A lot of times, people come in with family diamonds that they’ve had for years and we create a piece.”

Laiti Jewelers makes several locally-themed pieces as well, including U.P. charms and earrings and a Portage Lift Bridge necklace. The charms are carried in-store and can be viewed online and ordered over the phone as well. Options for the U.P.

charm include a larger polished pendant, as well as a small version, a charm that fits Chamilia bracelets, and a carved out pendant with a sparkly center. The charms are all made in sterling silver, but can be rose gold plated or yellow gold plated as well.

“We have had many people ordering (the charms) from other states who are from the U.P., or have family here,” Catherine Lewis, a sales representative at Laiti Jewelers, said.

Full jewelry and watch repairs are offered in the store’s state-of-the-art service department, and Laiti Jewelers maintains one of the most advanced gold-working shops in the Upper Peninsula.

Mark’s father happens , to be one of the last watchmakers, trained out of Pennsylvania, left in the area.

“That’s what’s made us grow so big I think because we fix everything,” Mark said. “Our repair service has brought us to where we are today with the quality standards of what we try to keep in our jewelry and also fighting for best prices.”

The store flourished for nearly 20 years in the mall before moving downtown.

Laiti Jewelers is located at 120 Shelden Ave. in Houghton. Business hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

For more information, call 482-0270 or visit the Laiti Jewelers website,

Editor’s note: This feature is part of a paid advertising package purchased by Laiti Jewelers Businesses interested in being featured on the Business page may call Yvonne Robillard at 483-2220.