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Going out of business - Long Jewelers Inc. to close next month

July 09, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Not so long ago, jewelry stores were the places to go for wedding gifts, usually fine silver and china that graced tables at elegant home dinner parties.

But those days are gone, said John R. and Christine V. Long, owners until next month of Long Jewelers Inc. at 26 W. Main St.

The Long family has been in the jewelry business in Waynesboro and Chambersburg, Pa., for nearly nine decades.

"Lifestyles have changed," Christine Long said. "People are busier today. They don't entertain like they did. They don't want to bother cleaning china and silver. That's just how it is. Things have changed."

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Long Jewelers will be out of business by mid-August. Signs in the front windows read "Retirement Sale."

"There are a lot of reasons," John Long said. "We weighed all options, but it's just time."

The Longs, who live in Chambersburg, have no definite retirement plans other than a little traveling and spending more time on their mutual hobby - rock collecting. They are amateur geologists. He is president of the Franklin County Rock and Mineral Club and she is club treasurer.

"I'll find plenty to do," John Long said.

He said attempts were made to sell their store, the only jewelry store left in Waynesboro, but there were no takers.

Buying a jewelry store requires a large amount of capital to buy the inventory, he said.

One prospective buyer looked at downtown Waynesboro and changed his mind.

"He said, 'I don't think so,'" John Long said.

The business was started in 1916 by Ira Long, John Long's great uncle, in a building at 135 S. Main St. in Chambersburg.

John Long's father, Guy B. Long, took over from his uncle.

Guy Long opened the store in Waynesboro at its current address in 1964. His wife, Jane, ran the Waynesboro store with help from her son.

Guy Long died in 1994. A year later, the Chambersburg store was closed.

All three Long men - Ira, Guy and John - learned their watchmaking and jewelry repair trades at the now-defunct Bowman Technical School in Lancaster, Pa.

John Long stopped repairing watches 10 years ago.

In the days when bridal registries were popular at the store, it had five full-time employees in addition to the Longs just to keep up with the business, Christine Long said. The Longs and Debra Hull, the sole employee, run the store today.

The store's inventory is on sale this week at 25 percent off. The discounts will increase each week until the store closes, Christine Long said.

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