Hartley Jewelers has been a fixture in west Olympia for 30 years. And before that it was a home-based business for about 20.
But after 50 years of customizing, designing, repairing, appraising and selling jewelry, Rick and Linda Hartley have decided it is time to retire. That means more time for the grandchildren, some of whom live as close as Tacoma and as far as Denmark, Linda Hartley said.
For Rick, who took to creating jewelry as a teenager, he’ll be able to spend more time on one-of-a-kind jewelry designs.
“I’ll be able to indulge myself,” he said.
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Linda thinks that after the business closes, Rick might appear at another jewelry store as a guest artist, she said.
For now, though, they’re trying to get through another holiday season of custom jewelry orders, Linda Hartley said. Hartley certainly is not closing due to lack of business: On a recent visit to the store on a Wednesday morning, it was a step-out-of-the-way here-comes-another-customer kind of experience.
Bob Dueber of Olympia stopped by, needing to have a necklace chain lengthened. He’s been coming to the store for 20 years.
“I hate to see them go,” he said, adding that they do excellent work.
It all began in the late 1960s for the Hartley family. Rick and his brother, Jim, loved to collect rocks and crystals, and soon that developed into an interest in designing jewelry. They learned how to make jewelry at a Fort Lewis craft center — their father, James, served in the Air Force — and then they sold their creations under the banner of Hartley Hobbies.
Dad made homemade wine, mom made ceramics, and the two brothers created jewelry, Rick said.
Next, it became a home-based business and grew. At one point, they did wholesale work for more than a dozen jewelery stores in the area. Then they began to attract retail customers, and then it became too much.
Rick can recall working three straight days without a break during one holiday season. They needed help, so they opened a storefront near the corner of Harrison Avenue and Cooper Point Road in the late 1980s. That business has nine employees today.
A sale at the business runs through Jan. 12, Linda Hartley said.
And when do the doors close? Linda said they are aiming for Feb. 1.
- Owners: Rick and Linda Hartley
- Location: 400 Cooper Point Road SW, Suite 2, Olympia
- Online: You can find Hartley Jewelers on Facebook, or at www.hartleyjewelers.com.
- Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. The business is usually closed Sundays, but it will be open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 23.