In today’s world it can be difficult to properly create a long lasting business that endures the test of time, but one local man has accomplished just that as his business approaches a 60-year milestone in March.
“You have to treat people right,” Bill Boylan, owner and operator of Boylan Jewelers, said during an interview Friday. “You just need to keep treating the people nice and right. If you can do that, they will keep coming back.”
Boylan was employed and trained by Paul Shore during his last year in high school before he graduated in 1948, and was taught the proper ways to make and fix watches among other interesting and useful skills. Over the next eight years, Boylan would lose that mentor, who passed away at the age of 34, and become the owner of his own business. He opened the store in 1956 in the Village of Mount Sterling. Ten years later, he moved the business to a larger location and a larger town, the City of Washington Court House, and in 1977 he finally finished moving to where he is currently located on Court Street in the downtown area.
“When I first started out, I had never envisioned having a bigger store like this,” Boylan said. “I started as a watch maker and that was my bread and butter for many, many years, even after I came down here. As I got older, the store got bigger and we transitioned into….well the watch business is not what it used to be. Nowadays, it is much easier to make them than it is to repair them, but watches can still be fixed. I have a watch maker who does repairs for me now, as I am not as physically able as I used to be.”
Boylan said that throughout the years there was never anything that was a particular hardship for his business, commenting that most things took their own pace. He said that it is common to see businesses last for 60 years or more, but what makes his case more uncommon is that he has had the same business as the owner for that time. The community has definitely noticed though and he was selected to ride as the Grand Marshal of the 2014 Christmas Parade.
“I never minded…I always liked to go to work,” Boylan said. “Early on when I was a watch maker I didn’t mind the watch work. Even today I do not mind coming to work. Business though is not like it used to be. People shop different. They shop now specifically based on price. I have a lot of good, loyal customers, and that is part of the reason I am still here. Without them I wouldn’t be. These are people I have known for a long time and have become friends with.”
What is Boylan’s most favorite aspect of his job? He said he doesn’t have one and likes all parts of his job. Open only three days a week, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, Boylan runs the store solely. After the years he has been working, he said with a laugh that he has cut back on days because he doesn’t want to work so hard.
Boylan has five children, one of which is deceased, and is still married to his wife Chris. The couple will also be celebrating another 60-year milestone this September as Boylan chose, in the same year he opened for business, to get married. His kids are not so interested in the jewelry business, Boylan said, something he believes is the case because he worked day and night when they were around. He said that they saw how much work went into operating the business.
“They had different ideas for what they wanted to do for themselves, one even has even become a contractor in Connecticut,” Boylan said. “I plan on being here another 10 years, oh I am sure. There is currently no plan for retirement, as I think that you have got to have something to do. I feel I have found success or I wouldn’t still be here. I can say that I am (still open) though because of those customers. If I ever have to close down, I will miss those people. That is why I stay open, I feel obligated to stay around for those customers.”
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy