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Jewelers sign too special to be destroyed

When La Rog Jewelers moved to Clackamas, they found a creative way to take their landmark sign with them
by: Ellen Spitaleri, Rick Rogoway steps out of his company’s truck that has now become a “moving billboard” that features the huge diamond that used to grace the corner of SE Foster and 82nd Avenue.

The Rogoway family had a problem: What were they going to do about the sign?

And not just any sign, but the La Rog Jewelers sign with the larger-than-life diamond that had occupied pride of place at SE 82nd and Foster Road since 1967.

'Tom Peterson owned the land [where the shop was located] and he sold it to a developer who is going to tear down the building. So we decided we wanted to move closer to the Clackamas Town Center area,' said Rick Rogoway.

He is co-owner, along with his brother David Rogoway, of La Rog Brothers, a full-service jewelry store, now located in Sunnybrook Center at 13033 SE 84th St., in Clackamas.

As the family contemplated the move, they knew they needed to come up with something special in regard to the sign.

'It was emotional - it's a landmark. People came and took pictures of it before the move,' Rick Rogoway said.

'Then Tyler came up with an idea,' he added.

Tyler Rogoway, David's son and Rick's nephew, suggested mounting the sign on a truck and wrapping the vehicle with information about the new store location.

'It's a work still in progress - it was a fun project, but it took a few challenges to make it happen,' Tyler Rogoway said, noting that the 11-foot tall sign has been refurbished and the diamond lights up at night.

He drives around in the truck, describing it as a 'moving billboard that the community can connect with on a visual and emotional level. People will follow me - everybody stares.'

David Rogoway added a sign to the back of the truck which says: Ladies - honk twice if you want a bigger diamond.'

Not surprisingly, 'people honk at me,' Tyler Rogoway said.

New location

La Rog Brothers opened in the new location just before Thanksgiving, and Rick Rogoway said he is pleased to be in the Sunnybrook Center.

'Customers enjoy it so much more - there is more parking and a better atmosphere and it is easier to get to,' he said.

He noted that the Rogoway family has been in the jewelry business since 1910 when the first store opened at 3rd and Alder in downtown Portland.

'My uncle Sam broke away in 1946 and moved to the 82nd and Foster location, where he called the shop La Rog - which was a combination of his wife's first name and his last name,' Rick Rogoway said.

When Sam died in 1960, Rick and David's father, Stan Rogoway, took over the store and built it up, adding the landmark sign in 1967.

Rick Rogoway said he and his brother 'grew up' in the 82nd and Foster location, where they started working when they were '8 or 9 years old.'

Tyler Rogoway described himself in exactly the same way, noting that he also grew up in the business, working at the Washington Square location when he was in high school and college. Although he helped out in the stores over the holiday season, he noted that he has other projects he is currently working on.

Rick Rogoway said that he and his brother are in the stores every day, as they are both 'hands-on owners.'

He added, 'It's a fun business. It's not just about making customers; it's about making friends and making people happy.'