HOLIDAYSBURG – A longtime staple in downtown Hollidaysburg is closing its doors.
Beerbower Jewelers, founded by Al and Millie Beerbower in 1954, is going out of business.
“We’ll be open for the holidays and close early next year,” Owner Don Beerbower said he plans to retire.
“You’ve worked your entire life and hopefully enjoy the rest of your life on this planet with family and friends,” Beerbower said he will soon be 66.
His wife, Karen, retired last year after 34 years on the faculty at Penn. She lives in the Pittsburgh area most of the time with their daughter, Meghan, and three granddaughters — with a fourth on the way.
“I’m younger (Karen) and want to keep working, but it’s a good time to bring the family together. If my wife stayed here, I’d probably semi-retire and move on,” said the brewery. “It’s not the right fiscal season; we’ve had a very successful long-term success in Blair County.”
Beerbower Jewelers has had a major impact on the business world over the years.
“It has always had a great reputation for quality and service. You always hate losing a business that is a traditional part of the area, but it’s hard to avoid, especially with the challenges faced by small businesses. Beerbower’s will be hard to replace,” said Joe Hurd, president and CEO of the Blair County Chamber of Commerce.
“Don not only contributes to the region economically, but also makes special occasions even better through his unique selection of fine jewelry. We congratulate Don Beerbower on his retirement,” The Hollidaysburg Area Community Partnership said in a statement.
Don works for the family business because “He follows his dad everywhere.”
He quit his job as an accountant to start working full-time in 1980. He and his sister Jane have been in charge of day-to-day operations since the mid-1990s. Jane left the business about 10 years ago and Don became the sole owner in 2012.
Beerbower said he will miss his customers and his day job.
“I do custom pieces; every day is a new challenge. I never thought I wanted to be in business. Being in business is like an addiction, and being an entrepreneur is betting on yourself, kind of like a gambler. It’s a rush,” said the brewery.
Beerbower is a Registered Jeweler with the Gem Society of America. He also holds the designation of an AGS Certified Gemologist and is a Graduate Gemologist at GIA, the Gemological Institute of America.
Beerbower says giving back to the community is important.
“Online stores sell more online, but they don’t give back to the community like local businesses do. We’ve always tried to give back. We’re big advocates for small businesses because we’re one. We’re a 68-year success small business,” said the brewery. “How many people have persisted for so long?”
Beerbower said he has no business listed for sale, but hopes someone will come forward to buy.
“We’ve been here for 68 years and they can turn the key and start this business. I’ll stay for consulting and training. I’ll be happy to sell it to our clients over the years,” said the brewery.
Beerbower said he plans to spend more time with his family. In addition to Meghan and her daughter, his two sons, Nathan and AJ, also have three daughters each.
“I may find that I don’t feel like retiring and may find something to do, work part-time. I need to keep busy. I have hobbies and I love golf. The grandkids will keep me busy and I’m looking forward to it,” said the brewery.
Mirror staff writer Walt Frank is at 814-946-7467.