If there is one thing Bruce Bailey has learned in his 42 years in the jewelry business it is that the woman always wins.
Bailey is closing the doors of the iconic main street shop Saturday.
A jewelry store has stood at 4190 Petrolia Line since at least the 1940s. Bailey has recently been given an old picture of Cecil Anderson’s Jewelry Store – the forerunner to Bailey’s. That photo has a clock in the window – the same old clock which hangs in the store today and that Bailey will take with him when the shop closes.
Gerald Bailey married the owner’s daughter and took over the store for a while. They sold it to Bruce’s parents, Ernest and Ruth, who worked in the store until they passed away in the late 1990s.
Bruce was a regular at the store as a boy, hanging out with his parents after school and on Saturdays. He learned to repair jewelry and make fine pieces like engagement rings and later took over the store from his parents.
Over the years, he watched the industry change. The days of people coming in to buy fine china and silverware ended. And fewer young people came through the doors, choosing instead to buy their items online.
Bailey says recently one of his major suppliers asked him to make a big investment to boost their product line. After thinking about it, Bailey, who is now 62, would have to work much longer than he wanted to make that investment pay off. Instead he decided to close the store.
He adds he did not think it would be a good idea to sell the store to one of his children or another jeweler saying with so many online sales it wouldn’t provide as good of a living as he enjoyed.
Bailey says he’s ready to retire to spend more time hunting and fishing with his wife whom he says is a better sportsman than he is. “She always gets the bigger bucks,” he laughs showing a picture of Lori posing with a deer which sits on his work bench.
It’s likely the workbench Bailey will miss the most. “Doing custom work is one of the things I really enjoy,” he says.
That usually means creating a special engagement ring for a happy couple. “Usually the two of them come in and the man wants something big and heavy duty that will last…the woman wants something totally different,” he says with a grin. And who gets their way? “The woman always wins. That’s what I’ve found.”
Bailey has loved working in the jewelry industry saying he gets to see people at their best moments.
“We’ve been fortunate to work in this industry…people have an emotional attachment to the things they’re buying and it’s always a happy occasion.”