In her own words: Susan McCabe, Westerner Silver Shop |

In her own words: Susan McCabe, Westerner Silver Shop

NNBW staff

Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about Westerner Silver Shop and your position.

Susan McCabe: The Westerner Silver Shop was founded in 1947. My husband Mike and I purchased the business in 1983. At the time, I was data processing manager at Lion Manufacturing in Sparks and was excited over the prospect of owning and managing my own business. I believe that the Westerner is the oldest, longest-running silver shop in Reno.

In the ’80s we had as many as eight full- and part-time employees and a retail store at Plumb Lane and South Virginia. Today we utilize independent contractors to build our silver and gold products, and rather than a brick-and-mortar storefront we are going to market via our Web site ( and printed catalogues. Besides our custom silver buckles, money clips, bolo ties, key chains and other sterling silver and gold items, we also carry awards, plaques, baby cups, flatware, frames, comb/brush sets and other miscellaneous gift items.

NNBW: Why did you decide to get into making jewelry?

McCabe: I had been a computer programmer, then DP manager at Lion and just couldn’t see myself doing either of those the rest of my life. Besides, I haven’t met a woman yet who doesn’t appreciate a nice piece of jewelry!

NNBW: What’s changed about your business with the recession?

McCabe: Luxury purchases have been off, and the price of gold and silver has sky rocketed.

NNBW: How has the Internet changed the way you do business? What are the main challenges of being an online retailer?

McCabe: I am used to working closely with my customers, and for us the Internet is really brand new, so some sales, I will never meet my customers. In that respect, it will be different, but we will always be designing jewelry. Even if you are in New York, if we are custom-creating something just for you, I will be talking with you! That part won’t change.

NNBW: What was your first job?

McCabe: I was a cashier in a ladies’ retail clothing store at Park Lane Mall.

NNBW: Tell us about your dream job. Why aren’t you working it?

McCabe: My dream job was to own my own business and still be able to spend time with my family, and I’m doing it!

NNBW: Because of my home office I was able to spend time watching and being with my children as they grew. Now that they are older, they like to come into my office and file or put trophies together while we talk. How great is that!

NNBW: What are your favorite hobbies or pastimes?

McCabe: I enjoy reading, writing, knitting or playing pool. We do most things as a family. We love excursions in the motor home.

NNBW: If you had enough money to retire right now, would you? Why or why not?

McCabe: I might hire an assistant so I could include doing other things, but totally retire? I don’t think so; I’d miss the business, and I have great customers I would miss.

NNBW: Where’s your perfect vacation spot?

McCabe: We always enjoy going to Lake Tahoe.

NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like most about working/living here?

McCabe: I love Northern Nevada. I was born here and thanks to our gaming and tourism industry, we enjoy all the benefits of a much larger city, yet we’re small enough to be out enjoying all the outdoor recreation one could imagine in less than an hour away.

Know someone whose perspective you want to share with NNBW readers? Send contact information to: or call (775) 850-2146.

The basics:

Name: Susan K. McCabe, president, Westerner Silver Shop and Trophy Center Inc.

How long have you been in this job? 29 years

How long in the profession? 29 years

Education: I am a Sparks High School graduate, and I received an associate’s degree from the University of Nevada, Reno in Fashion Merchandising

Last book read? I’ve always been a Stephen King fan, but actually I have been making time writing my own book. It is coming slow and I do a lot of rewriting, but it’s coming along.

Favorite flick? I prefer comedy or adventure/drama movies. My favorite right now is “Date Night”

What?s on your iPod? I love the new country music: Sugarland, Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood. I also still enjoy my oldies

What?s on your iPod? My best friend and biggest supporter is my husband Mike. We have raised two truly “nice-to-be-around” children: Melissa is a sophomore at the University of Nevada, Reno; and Ryan is a senior at Galena High School. Of course, I can’t forget our Yorkshire Terrier, Sasha.