Clater Jewelers in Louisville, Ky., Oct. 1, 1949. After his release from the Navy, William Clater got some watchmaking and repair experience before deciding to open his own business. The owner of a local drugstore made one merchandise case available for Clater, which he filled with watchbands and a few rings. To supplement his salary, he walked door to door in town to acquire watch repair jobs from residents.
When retirement time rolled around, Clater’s daughter, Sallie Clater Baer, and a friend, Megan C. Martin, were happy to buy the business from Clater senior. That was 13 years ago. Baer and Martin had been working in the store since attending high school together—35 years total. And for six years after Clater senior’s retirement, he still came in and repaired watches. He died six years ago.
During his tenure, William moved the store three times (it’s been in its latest spot 22 years). Its new owners continue the Clater tradition of service. For example, Baer and Martin have delivered gifts to hospitals, routinely keep late hours for customers, and phoned clients from diamond dealers’ offices overseas, e-mailing photos of stones to prospective buyers. One such effort landed Martin the sale of a 3.29 ct. stone—right over the phone.
“We just do what it takes, plus some,” she says of the store’s longevity.