EAST LIVERPOOL - For as long as Mary Moss can remember, James Locke Jewelers has been at the corner of Fifth and Broadway streets in downtown East Liverpool.
"We've been shopping here for generations," Moss said on Saturday, the store's last day in business. "Now it'll be the last jewelry store we've had downtown."
Moss, of East Liverpool, was among dozens of shoppers and well-wishers who flocked to the store on Saturday, hoping to get a great deal or just to say goodbye to old friends. They've been coming ever since the family-owned store announced in early November that it was closing after 57 years in business.
Keith Locke helps Jennifer Enochs, of Chester, with her repaired engagement ring on Saturday, James Locke Jewelers’ last day in business, while his brother, Jim Locke III, looks on. With Enochs is her daughter, Macey, 7. (Photo by Stephen Huba)
"I was shocked. I was really shocked," Moss said.
Moss said her father bought her baby bracelet at Locke's in the 1960s. She, in turn, bought her son's baby ring there. On Saturday, like so many others, she was at the store one last time - buying an amethyst-and-diamond necklace at a deep discount for herself.
Jennifer Enochs, of Chester, came to Locke's on Saturday with her daughter, Macey, 7, to pick up an engagement ring she had brought in for repairs. The ring combines a setting she bought at Locke's two years ago and the diamond from her original engagement ring, bought 14 years ago at another store.
"They did a great job, as always," she said, holding up her hand and marveling at the sparkle.
Assisting her were store owners Keith Locke and Jim Locke III, who spent Saturday afternoon mixing with customers and employees in anticipation of the 5:30 p.m. closing.
The brothers - and sons of store founders James and Margaret Locke - sounded hopeful that another business will eventually take its place.
"We are in discussions with a variety of potential purchasers," Keith Locke said.
"If we can sell it as a unit - building, furniture, fixtures and remaining inventory - that's our preferred way of doing it," Jim Locke said.
Their mother, Margaret Locke, 91, visited the store on Friday but spent Saturday at home.
She and her husband, James Locke, opened the store in 1955 - first at Sixth and Broadway and then, a few months later, at Fifth and Broadway. Margaret Locke carried on after her husband's death in 2003 and kept the store in operation with the help of her sons, who she said practically grew up at the store, and a dedicated staff.