Hendersonville, N.C., is losing its biggest jewelry store.
Shelley’s Jewelry, which was founded by watchmaker and jeweler Keith Shelley in 1973, is closing its doors this month. The shop is owned by Keith’s son, Stan Shelley, who said in a press release that the decision to shutter was a tough one.
The retailer suffered his second heart attack early this summer and candidly shared that he began thinking, “Okay, I only have so many years left—what do I want to do with them? It’s rewarding to work with people during the happiest times of their lives. But the timing is right.”
Keith, who passed away in 2010, “was a big personality,” Stan recalled. “He was always out on the floor meeting and greeting people and knew so many customers personally. He’s been gone quite a few years, but people remember him fondly.” Stan, in contrast, has always been a “behind-the-scenes guy,” he said.
The retailer’s initial career path underscores that. Stan began his working life as an industrial engineer, but ultimately came to work in the family business in 1979, quickly cottoning to the craftsmanship and precision required in both jewelry-making and watch repair.
The Shelley family was originally from North Dakota and moved to the Asheville, N.C., area after Keith, a World War II vet who learned watchmaking on the GI Bill, took a job with Gordon’s Jewelers (not the retail chain).
Stan said the store’s longtime manager, Deb Lewis, has been as invested in the shop as he has, noting that Lewis, “knows the customers much better than I do.”
Stan and his wife will stay in Hendersonville and continue to run their second business—a rare-books shop called Shelley and Son Books that does the majority of its business online.
A going-out-of-business sale began Aug. 13 and will continue until all the inventory is sold.
(Image courtesy of Shelley’s Jewelry)