HOLLIDAYSBURG — A downtown Hollidaysburg staple will be closing its doors.
Beerbower Jewelers, established by Al and Millie Beerbower in 1954, is conducting an exit sale.
“We will open during the holidays and finish early next year,” said owner Don Beerbower, who plans to retire.
“You work your whole life to enjoy the years you have left on this planet with your family and friends,” said Beerbower, who will soon be 66.
His wife, Karen, retired last year after 34 years of teaching at Penn-Mont Academy. She has spent most of her time living in the Pittsburgh area with her daughter Meghan and three granddaughters, with a fourth child on the way.
“I’m younger (than Karen) and I wanted to keep working, but now is a good time to bring the family back together. If my wife had stayed here, I might have semi-retired and carried on.” Beerbower said. “It’s not because of financial seasons; We had a very successful long run here in Blair County.”
Beerbower Jewelers has made a huge impact on the business community over the years.
“It maintains a strong reputation for quality and service. You always hate to lose a business that is part of the lore of the area, but it’s hard to avoid, especially with the challenges small businesses face. Beerbower will be hard to replace.” said Blair County Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Joe Hurd.
“Don has contributed to the area not only financially, but to further enhance special occasions with his unique selection of fine jewelry. Congratulations to Don Beerbower on his retirement. the Hollidaysburg Area Community Association said in a statement.
Don was wired for the family business because “he followed his father everywhere.”
He quit his job as an accountant and started full-time in 1980. He and his sister Jane have run the day-to-day operations since the mid-1990s. Jane left the business about 10 years and Don became the sole owner in 2012.
Beerbower said he will miss his customers and the day job.
“I make custom pieces; it’s a new challenge every day. I never thought I wanted to be in business. Being in business is like an addiction, being an entrepreneur you are betting on yourself, a bit like a gambler. It was a rush,” Beerbower said.
Beerbower is a registered jeweler with the American Gem Society. He also holds an AGS Certified Gemologist Appraiser designation and is a Graduate Gemologist with GIA, the Gemological Institute of America.
Beerbower said it’s important to give back to the community.
“Cyber stores have more online sales, but they don’t give back to the community like local businesses. We have always tried to give back to the community. We are big supporters of small business because we are one. We were a successful small business that lasted 68 years.” Beerbower said. “How many have lasted this long?”
Beerbower said he has not put the business up for sale, but hopes someone will step forward to buy it.
“We’ve been here 68 years, they could turn the key and start the business. I will stay for advice and training. I would love to sell it and have it here for our customers over the years.” Beerbower said.
Beerbower said he plans to spend more time with his family. Along with Meghan and her daughters, her two sons, Nathan and AJ, also have three daughters each.
“I might find out that I don’t like retirement and find something to do, work part-time. I need to keep busy. I have hobbies and I like to play golf. The grandchildren will keep me busy, I’m looking forward to it.” Beerbower said.
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 814-946-7467.