Economy Forces Michigan Jeweler to Close

A family owned jewelry operation in Western Michigan is closing because of economic conditions and increasing competition from untraditional players, according to a local newspaper report.

Doug and Thelma Gale, told the Muskegon Chronicle Thursday that they are being forced to close their stores in the cities of Hart and Whitehall along Lake Michigan. After more than 40 years in business the stores will close Oct. 10.

Doug Gale told the newspaper that consumers have turned to the Internet and “big box” stores for their jewelry purchases. He said other independent jewelry stores have recently closed as well.

The Gales—Doug, 80, and Thelma, 77—also have health issues, the newspaper reports. Doug Gale recently had a stroke.

The Gales opened their first store in Hart in 1963. They opened the Whitehall store in 1981. The husband-wife team also owned a store in nearby Shelby for many years.

The Gales’ three sons all grew up with the jewelry business by working at the Hart store during summer vacations, night shifts after school and on Saturdays. They all went on to greater roles in the jewelry industry.

Gale’s Jewelry has offered jewelry, watches, clocks, diamonds, gems, gifts, and Fenton Glassware, as well as watch and jewelry repair, the newspaper reports.

Doug Gale, a certified watchmaker, told the newspaper he may be one of only four or five watchmakers remaining in Michigan.