Phil Castle, The Business Times
Peggy Page expects she’ll most miss her customers and time spent not only helping them select jewelry for special occasions and celebrating with them the best of times, but also commiserating with and even praying for them during the worst of times.
“We just really care about them,” says Page, owner of Page-Parsons Jewelers, the downtown Grand Junction store she plans to close after more than a half century in operation.
While that level of customer service was personally rewarding and undoubtedly contributed to the success of the business, Page says the long retail hours have taken a toll over the years physically and in preventing her from spending more time with family. Meanwhile, the growing competition from online sales and rising cost of employee health care and other benefits have made running a small business more challenging than ever, she says.
And at age 67, Page says she’s ready for a change. “There’s just a lot of things I haven’t been able to do because the retail hours won’t let you do it.”
Page is the midst of overseeing a going-out-of-business sale at the store, which has been located at 414 Main Street since 1968. She expects to sell remaining inventory by the end of the year.
Page has worked at Page-Parsons Jewelers since she was a teen-ager and her parents, Mancel and Anna Page, purchased the business from George Parsons in 1964. The operation traces its roots back even further — to 1895.
Mancel and Anna Page moved Page-Parsons Jewelers to its current location in 1968, taking over a space previously used by Valley Federal Savings and Loan that conveniently included a walk-in vault.
Peggy Page attended college, but returned to work in the family business. She became a certified gemologist, handled appraisals and subsequently became owner.
Page attributes the longevity of the operation to quality merchandise, fair pricing and treating customers like members of an extended family.
Page-Parsons Jewelers deservedly earned a reputation for its high-quality products, Page says. “You knew if it came from our store, it was something valuable.”
While that value comes with higher prices, the store always has offered fair prices, she says.
As for service, Page says she’s most enjoyed working with customers in selecting jewelry for such special occasions as weddings and anniversaries.
She says she’s helped husbands avoid purchasing a necklace too similar to the one they bought the year before. And she once helped a husband and wife shopping separately for gifts pick out matching watches, even though they didn’t realize it until the wrapping paper came off. “That’s the kind of thing we loved helping people do.”
Now the children and even grandchildren of her long-time customers come into the store shopping for something with which to celebrate their special occasions, Page says.
While Page-Parsons Jewelers has established a large and loyal customer base, Page says running a small retail operation has become more challenging.
There’s more competition these days, especially from online sales. And the rising costs of offering health insurance and other benefits to employees has affected profitability, she says.
Page also attributed two back surgeries and a knee replacement to the physical toll of working in a retail outlet and standing for long periods.
So there are some things about the store Page says she won’t miss.
But she says she will miss her customers and wants them to know how much she appreciates their business over the years. “We love our customers.”