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Aug. 3, 2021 | Tuesday
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Owners retiring, NOTL jewelry store closing after 23 years
Shelagh and Mac Moolman are retiring and closing their jewelry shop after 23 years in business this July. (Richard Harley)

It’s a happy-sad feeling for Mac and Shelagh Moolman as they prepare to retire from their jewelry shop in downtown NOTL.

The couple has operated Niagara-on-the-Lake Jewellers and Precious Metal Studio for 23 years, specializing in custom-made jewelry.

Asked why they’re retiring, Shelagh says it’s pretty simple — it’s just time.

“He’s an old man. He’s 77,” she says, with a bit of a chuckle.

“All good things come to an end. There comes a time when you’ve got to stand away,” Mac says in agreement.

The couple immigrated from South Africa, where they had a store, too. Overall, they’ve been in business for more than 40 years.

Though they’re staying in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Shelagh says the most difficult part will be saying goodbye to a long list of friends made over the years.

“We love the business, we love the people, we’ve made so many good friends,” she says.

Currently the only jeweller in NOTL, the store has outlasted many others.

They plan on closing the doors to the shop at the end of July and until then are having a retirement sale to clear out as much inventory as possible.

When they do shut down, Shelagh says it will be “very sad,” but Mac says it’s just going to be a “different way of life.”

“This is the only life we’ve ever known, coming to work every day, seeing people, doing things. Mac has done some very creative things over the years, very special things for special people,” Shelagh says.

“I think we’ve had the best of times here.”

They say the pandemic isn’t the reason they’re closing, but it was a “good time” to make the call.

The plan has been in the works for about a year and now they’re both looking forward to having free time. The couple have run the shop themselves seven days a week since they opened.

Looking toward their free time, they’re eager to spend more time with their grandchildren.

“And gardening has suddenly taken over,” adds Shelagh.

“It’ll be a nice change, a different routine,” Mac says.

To their valued customers, they both want to express sincere appreciation for the years of support.

“We’re very, very thankful for them. They’ve been very kind to us and I hope we’ve been kind to them over the years. We’ve had a wonderful following. We just love the people in the town,” Shelagh says.

“I hope we’ve made them happy,” Mac adds.

They opened the shop mainly for locals, they say, and have always kept that as their main focus.

“We opened for the locals. And when I put our business plan together however many years ago, we looked at the stats, how many people were in town. And we worked on the government statistics, of what you would need to make a living. And that’s how we started out. So we never bothered with the tourists. Tourists is nice thick jam on the bread,” Mac says.

However, they’ve made some good American friends and clients over the years, too.

Custom-made jewelry has long been their specialty — an art that’s not so common any more.

“Very few people do that today. Very, very few people. It’s kind of like old school. Whereas today, all the jewelry is coming in from China and India and places like that. That’s what you would get in many stores,” Shelagh says.

Mac says they’ve had a good run and thanks his good health for being able to operate so late in life.

“I was very fortunate. My eyes are going now though,” he says.

Now that they’re closing, they’ve been getting a rush of last-minute fixes, with people saying, “I’ve got to quickly bring my chain and bring my ring,” Mac says.

He says they’re looking forward to winding down, catching more sunsets and having a bit more time to relax.

“Terrible stress,” Mac jokes.

“There’s time for everything and this is the time now to move on,” he says.

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