It is 'So long for now,' but not 'Good-bye,' for the owners of Squamish's Gem Jewellers, Roland and Susan Badke.
The store is closing after more than 50 years in the Sea to Sky Corridor — 23 of those years have been in Squamish.
It is the only full service jewelry store in town with a registered goldsmith and gemologist.
"We are just so thrilled to have been a part of the business community here for all these years," Susan told The Chief.
The couple needs to take a step back from what is an all-encompassing business to tend to some health issues.
"A true jewelry business, it is like having the same place that sells a car, that fixes the car, that insures the car and then maintains the car," Susan said.
After closing June 15, and a long-awaited break over the summer to rest and rejuvenate, the couple hopes to relaunch a smaller, part-time custom jewelry design and repair business, Susan said.
"We're not getting younger and we have done this a long time," she said, noting the pair has never had a summer off in all their years of marriage. "We need to slow down."
Roland’s parents, Alex and Doreen Badke, first opened the store in 1967 at Capilano Mall, in North Vancouver.
Roland, a registered goldsmith and gemologist, started working in the business as a kid, cleaning the glass of the jewelry cases.
"Roland probably would have started full-time at 19, and he is turning 58," said Susan, who married into the family and started working for the business in 1987.
Roland and Susan bought the business out in 1995 and moved it to Squamish where they could set more family-oriented hours and raise a family.
They never looked back — until now.
It is the co-workers at the store that are the heart of the place and that make it bittersweet to be closing, Susan said, noting she never calls the employees staff, instead insists they are co-workers.
"We have all worked together for so long. It is a family," Susan said of current store clerks Kari-Ann, Janice, Tammi, Donna, and Holly. "They are the best co-workers ever."
Customers, too, have made running the business meaningful.
Generations of families have returned to pick jewelry to mark important milestones.
"We were just so privileged to be a part of all the special things — weddings, engagements, 50th birthdays, 25th anniversaries. How much sweeter does it get than that? It is all the good stuff," she said. "Even when it is the hard stuff, memorial or tribute stuff, still, you get to be a part of really beautiful things.
*Please note, this story has been corrected since it was first posted to clarify that Gem Jewellers is the only full-service jewellery store. There are other places where custom jewellery can be bought in town.