After more than 70 years as a Wilmington staple, Albert F. Rhodes Jewelers will shut its doors soon.
Wayne Rhodes, who along with his sister Betsy Rhodes Herring took over the business from their father Albert in 1989, said they plan to retire and there are no immediate plans for the future of the property or business. Their final day open will be Feb. 18.
"It's been a great run, but it was just time to retire," Rhodes said. "That made it pretty simple."
The business was founded in 1948 as a humble watch repair shop operating out of a hotel office, but slowly grew to sell clocks and watches before Albert F. Rhodes became a registered jeweler and amassed his retail jewelry collection.
According to Wayne Rhodes, since announcing their closing, customers from decades past have stopped in to say goodbye and make a final purchase.
“The reaction has been really sweet,” Rhodes said. “Most of them have been doing their business here for a long time and there’s been a fair amount of emotion, I’ll tell you that.”
Rhodes became involved in the business in the late 1970s after college. By then the business was already earning a name for itself as a trusted jeweler in the area. He said they gained a loyal customer base through a simple commitment fairness.
“We just try to treat everybody correctly, just how I want to be treated,” Rhodes said. “If I'm buying something, I'm willing to pay a fair price for it. We’ve just tried to follow the golden rule.”
After decades in business, Rhodes said he's watched that trait become more rare.
“There's so much stuff that's not so fair these days,” he said. “I never wanted to get to that point.”
The store is having a going-out-business-sale, where Rhodes said people can expect, "a great deal on a lot of beautiful merchandise." With some items up to 70% off, Rhodes said he's been as busy as ever.
Looking back over the years, Rhodes said one of the few constants is how much change the city has gone through.
“It is not the same town I grew up,” Rhodes said. “I don’t mean that in a negative way, its just a whole different town. I look at how the downtown skyline has changed — it's not New York City or anything, but it has changed.”
Edit: This article was updated to correct Betsy Rhodes Herring's name.
Reporter John Orona can be reached at 910-343-2327 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Wilmington StarNews: Wilmington's Albert F. Rhodes Jewelers closing soon after 70 years