Next Generation Takes Over C.J. Duncan Jewelers After Owner Dies

C.J. Duncan Jewelers in Massillon, Ohio, has been a pillar retailer for the town, which sits outside the city of Canton, since 1897. And this month the historic jewelry store is passing into the next set of capable hands.

Local news outlet CantonRep.com reports that Brooke Longheier will be taking over the shop from her father, store owner Scott Longheier, who died of a heart attack on Oct. 31.

Brooke Longheier couldn’t be reached for comment for this story, but told the media outlet that she grew up in the jewelry shop in the 1990s, during a time when her father managed the store before buying it in 2010.

The fine jewelry store was founded by Curtis James Duncan in 1897, and its longevity is a big reason why Brooke, 38, is determined to keep it going. “It’s a 120-year-old business. I have to give it a try,” she told the CantonRep.com. “If it works, it works.”

CJ Duncan Jewelers 1899
C.J. Duncan Jewelers in 1899 (courtesy C.J. Duncan Jewelers)

The voicemail for the store reveals that the store will keep very limited hours: 10 a.m.–2 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 –7 p.m. on Wednesdays. But Longheier said she has no plans to sell the business—though she’s been approached by several interested parties.

Longheier works full-time as a site director for the Massillon YMCA before- and after-school program and is a single mother to three kids.

She’s suspended the store’s watch and jewelry repair business—at least for now, and told the media site, “I’m going to shrink the business down a lot. I want to learn more and practice jewel repair and continue on. I’m just not able to keep going ‘as is’ for now.”

Longheier’s family’s association with the store precedes its ownership of it. Her grandfather, Jack Longheier, began working at the store in the 1920s, and her dad joined the staff in the early 1970s.

Top: C.J. Duncan Jewelers (photo by Kevin Whitlock, courtesy of C.J. Duncan Jewelers)

JCK Magazine Editor