Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Crokett's Jewellers closing after 124 years in Summerside

     Above the Crockett-Gallant Building, 281 Water Street, Summerside. Built 1919.
Info. cf. Historical Places website:
            This structure at 281 Water Street has been a landmark on Summerside's principal thoroughfare since 1919. It has heritage value not only for its solid construction under the supervision of architect George E. Baker, but also for its long association with the Crockett family. 
            It was erected on the west corner of Water and Summer Streets for two of Summerside's prominent businessmen - Herbert R. Crockett and J. Edward Gallant. They purchased the empty lot in 1917 following a devastating fire of December 1916, which destroyed many original buildings on both sides of Water Street. The building that stood on this location had been owned by Charles C. Gardiner and occupied by grocer, Joseph Locke. 
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Crockett's Jewellers closing after 124 years
in downtown Summerside
Published on October 22, 2013
SUMMERSIDE – It will be the end of an era in downtown Summerside when Crocketts Jewellers closes its doors after Christmas.

© Mike Carson/Journal Pioneer/ Lynn Nicholson (left) owner of Crockett’s Jewellers, waits on customer Tara Broome during the businesses closeout sale. The business has been operating in Summerside for 124 and will close its doors after Christmas. 
SUMMERSIDE – It will be the end of an era in downtown Summerside when Crocketts Jewellers closes its doors after Christmas.
            Store owner Lynn Crockett said it was hard decision to make but one whose time has come.
            “My great grandfather started the business in 1889,” Nicholson said. “Then my grandfather took over and his brother. Then my dad took it over from his father and then I took it from my father. So, it’s the fourth generation. For 124 years we’ve been a fixture in Summerside. It’s pretty amazing.”
            With all of the success that Nicholson has had with the family business, she felt it was time to close down.
            “I’ve got 41 years in working,” she said. “There are a number of factors. It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a while and it’s also a decision I knew I was going to have to make. It just seemed in the last little bit that things kind of fit in a row and it was the right time to do it. And I wanted to end on a good note.”
Nicholson said she still loves her job even though she has decided to leave it.
            “I don’t want to be somebody who doesn’t like their job at the end,” she said. “I know people like that and I don’t want to be that person. I still enjoy my job. It’s time. You just know it in your bones and that’s a really hard thing to describe to people but you do. You just really know when the time is right.”
            Nicholson said it took a long time for her to reach the decision to move on but she’s doing so with no regrets.
            “Now that I’ve made it, I’m okay with it,” she said. “The hardest people to tell were the staff. That was tough.”
            Nicholson has no children so there is no one in the immediate family to continue on the Crockett’s’tradition and the rest of her family doesn’t live in the area. The business has also been on the market as well.
            “I have two sisters and my sisters don’t live here and they have different careers,” she said. “It’s been on the market but I just decided that this was the right decision for me at this time.”
            Through the years in running the business, Nicholson has seen the good times and the bad times for downtown Summerside but she sees a positive future for the area.
            “There have been a ton of changes but I think if you’re not changing, you’re not going anywhere,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of changes down here even in the last year.  Kelly’s Flower Shoppe has been sold again. That’s a positive thing. Their building sold. We have a new brew shop opening. We’ve had a Halloween store opening.”
            Nicholson said the advent of Holland College and its Waterfront Campus bodes well for the future of downtown.
            “It’s all positive,” she said. “It’s what life is all about. Crockett’s Jewellers is just another chapter in the history of Summerside and then we’re going to turn the page and there will be something else and there will be something else here.”
            Nicholson said she has many memories of downtown Summerside and it’s difficult to pick out just one.
            “For myself, coming downtown when I was a little kid shopping with my great aunt - pretty good,” she said. “I’ve got tons of memories. I’ve worked every sidewalk sale but two, maybe three since it was started in 1973. Problem is I have a lot of good memories. Somebody said to me ‘What’s the best memory?’ and I thought I can’t say one because so many things keep flowing through your head. It’s just been phenomenal. I’ve been very fortunate.”
            Nicholson said she no real plans once the store closes but travel is something she intends to do.
            “I have family in Paris and we’ll go and visit them. My dad’s brother lives over there and my cousins live between Paris, London and Geneva so we’ll go there,” she said. That’s on the list for next year. Other than that I haven’t thought any farther than that.”
            Since word got around that Crockett’s was closing its doors, the outpouring of well-wishers has been non-stop.
            “It’s been an amazing few days, I will have to day,” Nicholson said. “We have a guest boo because people might like to tell us their favourite memories. It’s been really wonderful. We’ve had generations of families come here. I just waited on somebody who will be back on the weekend with her granddaughter because she wants to come here to get a ring for herself. That’s pretty powerful stuff.”
            “People are amazing and they’ve said so many nice things like ‘Sorry to see you’re retiring but happy for you,’” she said. “They’ll say in one breath ‘I’m sorry the store’s not going to be here’ but then in the next breath they wish me well. You can’t get any better than that. It’s a pretty wonderful thing to think you’re so well thought of in the community. It’s pretty humbling.”

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