A shop buzzing with consumers and camaraderie is what owner Cathy Beaulieu loves at Wilder’s Jewelry, which this year marks its 90th anniversary.
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A retail store buzzing with prospects and camaraderie is what proprietor Cathy Beaulieu enjoys at Wilder’s Jewellery, which this year marks its 90th anniversary.
Beaulieu celebrated her possess milestone in 2021: 25 a long time as the store’s owner.
Located in a historic creating on Presque Isle’s Principal Road, the company has observed numerous generations of consumers. Nevertheless the COVID-19 pandemic has improved significantly about how organization is performed everywhere, Beaulieu believes Wilder’s has thrived many thanks to its loyal shoppers and willingness to adapt.
Founder Ike Wilder opened Wilder’s Jewellery in 1932, shifting to the current web page at 407 Main St. in 1960. The circa-1887 developing experienced housed one more jewelry retailer as effectively as the neighborhood Bell System place of work, with the operators situated upstairs.
Son Harry Wilder took in excess of with Ike’s passing in 1974, and Beaulieu bought Wilder’s in 1996. Harry arrived in to work with her just about every working day for the 5 decades right up until he died, she explained.
“It was like doing work with my grandfather, but we didn’t have any household baggage,” Beaulieu stated, smiling. “He needed me to be successful.”
She retained the Wilder’s title for the reason that people were being acquainted with it and due to the fact the business enterprise had a prolonged heritage of good results.
When the pandemic struck, Beaulieu explained there were being frightening instances. Retaining the historic organization alive was paramount, so she intently monitored funds and kept costs to the bare minimal. Retailer staff took orders through phone and social media, and delivered curbside when shoppers could not come within.
When delivery delays prevented inventory from arriving, she drove to Boston herself, satisfied new suppliers and introduced solutions back to Presque Isle.
“We have these types of a really excellent, sturdy purchaser foundation,” she reported. “We have survived improved than most. It’s by the grace of God, genuinely.”
Beaulieu misses the store’s social buying activities that are on hold for now, when consumers arrived in teams to stop by as they browsed. But an more mature jeweler she the moment labored with always told her, “There are two matters you can always count on. Men and women slide in really like, and Xmas often comes.”
In some cases 3 or 4 generations of families have appear to Wilder’s for engagement rings and other special things.
In her yrs at the helm, the keep has extra to its fine jewellery and diamond options, notably Brighton, Pandora and Alex and Ani jewelry, together with the Vera Bradley manufacturer, purses and other reward things. Workers take pleasure in launching new product or service traces to preserve up with what consumers want, and often Beaulieu has experienced to influence companies that their items can be effective in Aroostook County.
“You have to be regularly evolving,” Beaulieu reported. “It’s like throwing spaghetti at the wall — if it sticks, you’re good. If it doesn’t, move on.”
Beaulieu reported the retail store sells 5 times the quantity it did 25 several years back, and credits her personnel with supporting it realize success. Some have been there a extensive time, though other individuals return residence for faculty breaks. Previous personnel visit, and she enjoys viewing them rejoice marriages and births.
“I’m fortuitous with the personnel who have worked for me in excess of the several years. It is a mix of ladies and there is a little something to learn from all of them,” she claimed.
Even with the pandemic problems, Beaulieu said the retailer has more initially-time prospects now than ever right before, which she attributes to persons patronizing nearby organizations somewhat than touring to shop. A good deal of shoppers go to due to the fact they don’t forget staying in the store when they ended up young.
“I do feel a great deal of people today have rediscovered what they have all around them,” she reported. “They search for what’s acquainted and everlasting.”
As Beaulieu has renovated over the years, she has tried to honor the store’s historical past. She experienced a copy tin ceiling mounted in the entrance of the retail store to match the unique, and has saved the standard format, incorporating new home windows, structural and safety enhancements.
Like some other Primary Road corporations, storefront windows are a significant component of the store’s control appeal. Beaulieu claimed she loves building Wilder’s home windows, and interweaves more compact objects folks can see as they walk by with bigger things obvious from passing cars.
The retail store fields phone calls frequently from people today asking about approaching situations, if they keep in mind so-and-so, and even whether there’s a line at Dwight’s Barber Shop throughout the avenue. It is all portion of being in a near-knit Primary Street community, exactly where organizations invite prospects to shop at other local stores.
“We have to stimulate every single other’s success,” Beaulieu explained. “You have to look at the huge photograph. If a single of us does perfectly, we all do effectively.”