After staying in business for 68 years, Taylor's Jewelry, 518 Court St., is closing its doors.
Ray and Carol Taylor said they have decided it's time to retire. "We tried to sell the business but in this economy we were unable to do so," Taylor said.
When the store closes after its going-out-of-business sale, downtown Fulton no longer will have a jewelry store.
"We will stay in business until we sell off the inventory. We won't be rushed to close the business. That's the plus side of not selling the business. I also own the building," Taylor said.
"It's a great place to do business downtown because the store is located at a crosswalk and it's easy for people to walk across the street to get to us," Taylor said.
Taylor put up a going-out-of-business sign on the front of his store on Tuesday. "The store has been extremely busy. People are looking for bargains," Taylor said.
Jody Paschal, owner of Gidley's Shoe Store in downtown Fulton, said "It's sad that no one wanted to buy the store. At one time we had four jewelry stores downtown. Taylor's Jewelry brought a lot of business downtown. The other day I sold a pair of shoes to a lady who went across the street to buy coordinating jewelry at Taylor's," Paschal said.
"I personally bought a lot of gifts at Taylor's. That's where I would go to buy wedding presents," Paschal said.
Taylor said the Taylor family jewelry store was started in 1942 by his father Ernest Taylor.
"My dad was working in a shoe factory. A doctor told him he was allergic to the dye used in shoe leather. He needed to find another way to earn a living. He had a friend who was involved in the jewelry and watch business who mentioned to him that because of the war there was a big demand for watch repair because it was difficult to find new watches during the war. My father took a correspondence course from the Wisconsin Institute of Horology to learn how to repair watches and clocks," Taylor said.
His father bought some showcases and started a watch and jewelry business during World War II and opened a shop in his home on Grand Street in Fulton.
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"We were three doors up from the old high school in Fulton," Taylor said.
In the early 1960s the jewelry store moved to Court Street next to Callaway Bank.
Taylor worked for Ovid Bell Press for 13 years. When his father decided to retire, Taylor and his wife bought the store from his father in 1974. In 1976, he moved the business from 524 Court St. to the current larger location at 518 Court St.
"I've been married to my wife Carol for 52 years. We decided to close the business while we were still in good health. I will be 74 in March and my wife is younger," Taylor said.
Taylor said competition over the years as changed the jewelry business, especially from big box discount stores and even the Internet. "There's still a lot of business changing watch batteries, sizing rings and jewelry repairs," Taylor said.
"Gold, diamonds, and colored stone jewelry are still popular," Taylor said.
"The jewelry business is a happy business. For the most part, people are in a good mood when they are buying or shopping for jewelry. It's a happy occasion when people are looking for an engagement ring or a gift for a birthday, wedding or anniversary," Taylor said.
Mrs. Taylor had high praise for the store's employees. "Jo Hensley has been here for 23 years and Carmen McEwen has been working her for seven years. They have been invaluable in making our business successful," she said.
When the store celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2002, State Rep. Danie Moore presented the store a framed resolution from the Missouri House of Representatives honoring the store for its 60th year as a family business.