50 years of the Burkes experience

From left are Fred Burke, Karen Burke,  Alison Haynie, Danielle Kunkle, Annie Badenoch, Morgan Wilson, Melissa Burke and Justin Burke.
Jackie Nunnery

by Jackie Nunnery

Bell bottoms, bouffants and love beads may have fallen out of favor since 1969, but one thing has endured on Main Street in Kilmarnock and become a Northern Neck tradition since then: Burkes Fine Jewelers.

Started by Fred Burke Sr. and his wife, Dorothy, Burkes has long prided itself on good old-fashioned service to their customers, many of whom they considered friends.

The second generation, Fred Jr. and his wife, Karen, have built on the tradition of the Burkes’ experience by offering highly personalized service and distinctive jewelry. And with changing shopping habits, they made sure the shopping experience is something more than online browsing.

“We’re fortunate that a lot of people want to see jewelry, try it on and touch it, and you can’t really tell that from a picture,” said Fred Burke Jr. And since jewelry is typically bought for highly personal, special occasions, “people want us to hear their story behind the purchase.”

The Burkes credit their customers for their longevity and have been recognizing that fact by giving away pieces…