ESTEVAN - One of Estevan’s longest-standing businesses is marking a special anniversary this month.
A&A Jewellery and Gifts will celebrate 50 years in business with its annual sale.
Laurel Buck, who has been an owner of the business since 2006, said the store opened in 1972 by Adrian (Red) Bourassa. He gave the business the A&A name because of his first name and his wife’s name, which was Agnes.
Eventually, the company was sold to Donald and Verna Hahn, and they owned it for a while. Dennis and Marlene Moore then purchased the business and owned it until 2006, when the retail store was sold to Buck, her father Vern, and Laurel Buck’s uncle and aunt, Wayne and Audrey Shelstad. The Shelstads left two years later to start their own jewellery store in Alberta.
Buck remained a social worker at the Violence Intervention Program (now Envision Counselling and Support Centre) after her family purchased the store, but she helped out on evenings and Saturdays. She started working full-time in the store in 2008.
Buck proudly pointed out that her father is still part of the business at age 83.
“He comes in and does the books every day,” said Buck.
When her family purchased the business, they added more giftware to go along with the selection of jewellery. They have also remodelled the business.
She noted that the various owners have wanted to keep the original store name over the years because of its reputation and its prominence in the community.
“It’s been locally-owned by people who were well known in the community,” said Buck. “Dad was well-known, and of course Dennis was as well and the Hahns and the Bourassas [were]. I think it’s always been owned by people who have been in Estevan for ages.”
Buck noted that the building has a rich history. It was home to Wellock’s Meat Shop at one time, and it was the site of other businesses during its history before becoming a jewelry store in 1972.
The 50th anniversary will offer 17 days of sales. The jewellery and gift wear is up to 75 per cent off, and each day they will have prizes and giveaways. It started on Monday morning and will continue until closing on May 28.
All specials will be in-store.
“It’s just going to be a lot of fun,” said Buck. “We have stuff we’re going to just blow out. We want to make some room for some new items. We’re just looking forward to a good sale and having a blast doing it.”
Each year they have an anniversary sale, but this one is going to be bigger and better than most, because it’s their 50th anniversary.
Buck noted that when her family purchased A&A, the price of gold was $800 per troy ounce. Now it is $1,800-$1,900 per troy ounce, which is a unit of measurement for gold, and is equivalent to about 31.1 grams.
The business has seen a lot of other changes in recent years besides the greater emphasis on giftware. The online world is a big change, as they’re now competing with those outside of the community. Social media has created a big change. And the prices have obviously gone up.
Working in the jewellery business, she gets to see a lot of excited people. But the best part is when someone buys an engagement ring and they’re excited to give it to the person they want to marry. She gets to see the excitement on the fiancée’s face when they come in for their wedding bands, and they keep coming back after the wedding.
“That’s the best thing, is building that relationship with people,” said Buck.
Buck said she has always loved gemstones, diamonds and other jewellery. But as far as the business, she had no idea about running the store, and thankfully she always had her father to help out.
When Buck’s family bought the business, she remembers asking the Moores about what they do when there are no customers in the store. But there will always be so much work to do, because they have to worry about marketing, human resources and other tasks associated with having a long-standing and respected business in the community.