An 88-year run as the Belmont Shore jeweler will come to an end soon as McCarty's Jewelry prepares to close its doors.
Owner Page Henley put the store closing sign in the window last week, saying Monday that he plans to shut down the corporation and retire. He has owned the store since 1982, buying it from the McCarty family. The McCartys launched the store 50 years earlier, in 1932, just down the street from its current location at 5011 E. Second St.
Henley said his decision to close had nothing to do with the coronavirus pandemic — business has been pretty good.
"I'm 70 years old," Henley said. "I want to retire before they have to carry me out of here."
Henley said he would be keeping an eye out for someone who wants to take the business forward, but his departure is a certainty. The lease on the store runs out March 31, providing a hard stop for the business.
A store closing sale now made sense, Henley added, because it allows people the chance to find a bargain during the holiday gift-giving season.
McCarty's has been a full-service jewelry store, offering a large selection of jewelry and watches, design services for custom pieces including wedding rings, and repair services. And, Henley said, service to the community has always been central to the business.
"This community means so much to me," Henley said. "My heart has always been in serving the community."
McCarty's is part of the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade every year, and gift certificates are found at many silent auctions benefiting nonprofit organizations. But perhaps the most visible demonstration of a caring for the community is the presence of Jim Gorsuch, the always-friendly security guard at McCarty's front door.
Gorsuch has worked at McCarty's for a decade, greeting every passerby with a wave, a smile and a greeting. He quickly became a fixture on Second Street.
Henley said Gorsuch will be around as long as the store is open.
A feeling that the coronavirus shutdown is forcing people out of business is not necessarily true, Henley added. While it obviously impacts restaurants and bars, retailers can see another cause for the hard times.
"It's been all about Amazon," Henley said. "It's (Jeff) Bezos. He said he would close everyone down so he could have it all to himself, and that's what he is doing. It's hard to compete."
Henley lives in Seal Beach, and said he plans to stay in the area after he retires. There's no reason to leave, he said.
"I love it here," he said.