Sean and Granada Robinson only recently became local business owners, but they’re already contemplating their shop’s centennial celebration.
The couple have become partners in Mitchell and Jewell jewelry store, which at 93 years is Red Deer’s oldest retail business. They join Dick and Marilyn Jewell, the store’s longtime owners, who remain involved in the business.
“There’s no change in the operation,” said Dick, explaining that he and Marilyn — both 57 — simply wanted to get a jump on succession planning.
Their own children, he said, don’t want to take over the business and he and Marilyn thought the Robinsons, who are in their early 40s, would be a great fit.
“We feel that we’ve found the right people and the right mix and the right knowledge and the right business acumen.”
Sean and Granada are no strangers to the jewelry business, with Granada’s parents — Larry and Shirley Humphrey — opening a store in Grand Forks, B.C., 35 years ago. They later bought a shop in Whitecourt, with their daughter and son-in-law becoming partners in 1998.
Operating as Merchant Jewellers, the business consisted of as many as five stores. The Humphreys have since retired, and Sean and Granada sold the last store in Whitecourt.
“We had a very good store in Whitecourt and a very good business, but the opportunity here is just tremendous,” said Sean.
He’s known Dick for years through their involvement in the DiGem Jewellers buying group. They began discussing a partnership last March.
Dick and Marilyn said they plan to remain involved in the business for some time to come, but it’s comforting to know it can now survive without them.
“It’s just nice to be able to keep things moving along in a positive direction and keep the history, and be able to help the next generation of customers,” said Dick.
The store opened as A.B. Mitchell Jewellers in 1919, with owner Alexander Mitchell welcoming Dick’s father Bob as a partner 30 years later.
Dick grew up around the business, and joined on a full-time basis in 1979.
Sean speculated that one or both of his and Granada’s two daughters — Sydney, 15, and Courtney, 13 — might even continue the legacy.
“Courtney’s been making jewelry in our basement,” he said, adding that both girls helped out at the Whitecourt store.
In the meantime, Sean confessed that he’s already looking forward to Mitchell and Jewell’s 2019 celebration.
“It’s in the back of my head.”