Steve & Julie Weintraub
Owners, Gold & Diamond Source and Founders, Hands Across the Bay
They’re one of the most recognizable and high profile power couples in Tampa Bay. Steve and Julie Weintraub, the charismatic duo who appear on local television commercials pitching the Gold & Diamond Source, are the faces behind the family-owned business that is now the fastest growing jewelry store in the country. Married since 2004, the Weintraubs are also raising a full house – five children ranging in age from 15 to 30. This is a family who works together: Steve runs the day-to-day operations at G&D, Julie serves as Vice President, working alongside their three sons and Steve’s sister in the showroom.
While diamonds may be their business, charity and giving back to others is at the heart and soul of this couple. Julie is an outspoken advocate for victims of spousal abuse, often accompanying families at trials to garner attention on the case. In 2010, she founded Hands Across the Bay in 2010, a local non-profit that supports and raises funds for domestic violence and other at risk victims in the community. Here in their own words, the Weintraubs share how their long-term friendship blossomed into marriage, and the struggles and successes of blending a family of seven in the public eye.
You were long-time acquaintances before you got married. How you first meet?
He Said I remember the first day I ever saw Julie. I walked in my store and I saw her and she laughed at me and ran in the back room. I remember what she was wearing. I remember the color lipstick she had on. I remember the whole thing because I thought it was very bizarre that I would strike somebody that I was so funny.
She Said I had heard all these funny stories about Steve and he was like this fun, crazy business owner. You have this picture of someone in your head when you hear all these things. He came in and it was just so funny. I don’t know why I started laughing but I found it amusing.
Both of you are very charismatic and media savvy. Whose idea was it to go in front of the camera?
She Said I think it was a mutual decision. Years ago, I had an interior design company and I did the commercials. One of my employees wanted to introduce me to someone who did commercials. Steve and I went out to meet this guy and he said, “You guys should do commercials together.” We both thought it was a great idea thinking that jewelry is a very personal purchase. They want to see that face and that name and know that they’re dealing with an honest family-owned company.
He Said People that come in the store have a fear, most especially men, because they know nothing about diamonds and jewelry. We thought it was very important that whatever we do that we try to let people know who we are. If somebody trusts you, you have a customer. We run into people all the time that come up to us and say “Hi, I know we’ve never met but we know you.” Honestly, we are who we are on the TV commercials. We like to joke around, we have a great sense of humor, and we want people to know that they can trust us.
How has being in the public eye affected your family and marriage?
She Said We have five kids (ranging in age from 30 to 15). My daughter has come home from school crying because people tell her you don’t really have to try because your parents are rich. I said, don’t feel bad. Our family are entrepreneurs, you have to work. We have four sons: 16 and then 21, 28, and 30 and they do have pressure. I said there’s good and bad that comes with our stance in the community. I don’t go out and get to have drinks and act silly. When I’m out I’m always aware there are eyes on me and I’m setting an example. The voice that I have for people —I may lose that if I am not worthy of the respect that I’m given. It’s also a security risk for our kids, the kidnapping of family members of jewelry stores. So, they have to make sure when they’re out they have to know their surroundings.
When you got married and you decided to blend families, how did that work?
She Said When we got married we asked ourselves if are we going to have “his,” “hers” and “ours” and we decided not to. The reason is because I wanted to be able to bond with his children. They weren’t real excited in the beginning to get to know me. I let them know that I’m not here to be your best friend and be really cool. I’m here to actively be a parent and in the long run you’ll appreciate it. I did a lot of different things like everybody sits at the table and have dinner together. I like family time and I’d make everybody watch “America’s Funniest Home Videos” or whatever. I would set certain boundaries with how we would interact with each other. Steve and I try to challenge them to be the best person they can be and understand their individual, unique personalities. Steve takes us on a family vacation every year and we all pack together in one house and do bonding time.
He Said For our family vacation we took 14 people to Hawaii last year, rented a house on Hanalei Bay. This year we’re taking 15 or 16 people to Beaver Creek, Colorado.
What is the biggest mistake that couples make?
He Said They get divorced. When you love somebody, you’re always going to have problems and you work through them. It’s so easy now to get divorced. The repercussions from divorce are so awful and you don’t realize it until you’ve gone through it. Julie and I have already been married before so we know what it’s like. Julie and I have made a commitment to work through everything. We generally don’t stay mad at each other for more than 24 hours.
She Said Steve and I might bicker. We seem to get along better the more quality time we spend together we get along better. If we become distant from each other we lose track of understanding each other. Sometimes we are bickering about something or disagreeing about something in the car on the way to work and I’m blah-blah-blah or this and that, or you did this and whatever. By the end of the day, we almost forgot that we were arguing.
Is there one piece of advice that you would give other couples?
He Said Be loving and kind. A lot of people just lose sight of that. If you remember the reasons why you’re with your wife or your husband and then instead of your normal, sometimes irritating answer, you answer with love and be kind to them. Sometimes I bring her a cup of tea.
She Said I’m going to write that on the wall. If he irritates me, I’m going to write it and say you said, “be loving and kind.” (laughs) He brings me coffee every morning and sometimes if I’m in a bad mood he asks if I would you like a hot tea. I try and do the same for him.
What is your perfect day?
He Said Probably having the whole family over. Almost every Sunday, we try to have all of our family together. We have two grandkids, two and three years old, that we don’t see enough and we’d love to see more, but when we have the whole family together I think that’s the perfect day.
She Said That is just the absolute best time because again, we all get along unbelievably well. We are so blessed. Our lives are so untraditional, there’s so much going on. To be able to have normalcy, vacuum the floor, have the grandkids over, and cook food for my family – that’s a perfect day.
By Katherine Ferrara Johnson