The jewelry retailer is the one of the longest-running businesses in Staunton, Va.
Fine jewelry shop H. L. Lang & Co., one of the most enduring stores in downtown Staunton, Va., is closing its doors after 130 years in business.
Local website News Leader reported that the store’s current owner, Tom King, who turns 75 in August, will retire after shuttering the store in late June or early July.
Courtesy New Leader/Gannett Company
The company was founded by Henry L. Lang, an engraver and watchmaker, in 1885 on property he purchased on the corner of Beverley and Augusta streets. In 1895, he moved the store to its present location at 11 W. Beverley St.
According to the company’s Web page, Lang was a skilled engraver and one of the first licensed optometrists in Virginia—an unusual mix of talents by today’s standards, but one that surely made perfect sense in the late 19th century.
Lang’s founder died in 1940, and jeweler George M. Rhodes purchased the store from his estate—hiring his two sons-in-law, Walter Dixon and William Wilson, to manage the business.
Wilson left the business in 1966 to launch his own shop in Harrisonburg, Va. Dixon bought Lang from Rhodes, then hired the store’s final (and current owner), son-in-law Tom King.
Dixon, King told the News Leader, “taught me everything I needed to know.” He added, “It’s been a fun job, and it suits my personality. I like to talk to people. I’ve met a lot of fine people in this store.”
The store’s original mahogany display cases—grand, engraved artifacts—are still intact. King said the beautiful cabinets are an “albatross around my neck—I can’t go anywhere unless I sell them. They are museum pieces.”
King and his shop will be missed in downtown Staunton, but the retailer is eager to move on to the next chapter of his life—which will include spending more time with his wife, three sons, and four grandkids, who all live in the area. He added that he plans to spend plenty of days this summer sitting on the beach with his wife.
After 55 years in the business, he’s certainly earned the R&R.