Martin’s Jewelers closing in Walla Walla after 133 years in business
Fourth generation owner of Martin’s Jewelers Erin Mason says as inventory lasts, the business will be open at least through Christmas this year.
WALLA WALLA, Wash. — A staple jewelry store in Walla Walla is closing its doors in just a few months. This week, Martin’s Jewelers announced they’re closing down after 133 years in business.
The history of Martin’s Jewelers
Charles Martin opened Martin’s Jewelers in downtown Walla Walla in 1889. He served the people of Walla Walla as a simple watchmen’s bench at the end of the 19th century. Then it was passed down to his son, Port Martin and wife Edith Martin.
It went down to their daughter Mary Martin and husband Paul Eagon, and then down once again to the current owner, Erin Mason and husband Justin Mason. They have a daughter, Addison.
The business passed through four, almost five generations of jewelers.
Erin Mason said it’s something even her 12-year-old daughter has taken a role in.
“She comes down and she loves it. She’s great with the customers and loves all the things that sparkle, which is definitely in our blood,” Erin Mason said.
Closing after 133 years in business
She made what she calls a hard, but necessary decision to close the legacy business to spend time with her family, especially as her daughter gets older.
“One thing that I learned through the struggles that everybody’s been going through the last couple of years is how important family is,” said Mason. “That time that I’ll have with her, I’ll never get back.”
It’s a family business, and not just for the Martin’s, but for all of the people who work there.
One employee said when she found out, she was worried about the other workers.
“For me, this is just fun, and I get paid to do it. But for them, this is their livelihood,” said Kimberly Montague. “My first reaction was, ‘What can I do to help make sure that they get what they need?’”
“I was kind of in a state of shock at first, and then really heartbroken,” Jillian Henderson said. Henderson is a graduate gemologist and goldsmith. “I wouldn’t be where I am without this store, and we’re all so close. You know, we’re like family here.”
‘Longest-running family-owned’ jewelry store in the PNW
Employees called Martin’s Jewelers the longest-running family-owned jewelry store in the Pacific Northwest. Having five generations work in the same building, it’s clear to see the rich history.
“The amount of antiques that we just find, you know, we open a drawer and dig in the back and it’s amazing how old some of these things are and they’re still totally usable,” said Henderson.
For now, because of all of those antiques and history, there’s a lot to get done.
“We have 100 years worth of storage to go through the building so that will be my first chore,” said Mason.
She said the business will be open at least through Christmas, as inventory lasts.
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