After 81 years of serving customers in downtown Courtenay, Francis Jewellers is closing its doors.
HR Francis opened the business in 1934 at 320 Fifth St. — where it has remained to this day.
“He left Saskatchewan in ‘34 and came out here, and then his grandson, Jack Armstrong, ran it up until the ’90s,” said store owner Daryl Wright, whose wife Evelyn had run the business for many years until her health took a turn for the worse.
Their youngest son was working at the store and was being groomed to take over the business, but he was stricken with inoperable cancer and passed away.
“It was sort of my escape,” Wright said of running the operation.
Longtime employee Rose Zilkie has managed the business for about the past 10 years.
The store carries an assortment of rings, earrings, chains, clocks, watches and even baby giftware. A goldsmith is on site.
A retirement sale that started Oct. 22 runs to Dec. 24. During one Saturday in November, Wright figures there were 300 to 400 customers.
“There’s so many good customers,” Wright said. “The town has been very supportive of Francis Jewellers over the years. We really appreciate that. They’ve allowed us to stay in business. But it’s just time.”
Wright says his golf game “isn’t that good,” so he might not be hitting the links six days a week in spring and summer. But come winter, he enjoys spending time at the curling rink.