Jewellery stalwarts say goodbye

Jen, Kay, Jim and Michelle behind the counter. 225590_02

By Danielle Kutchel

It’s the end of an era for a favourite Berwick shop, as Kay and Jim Drysdale head into a well-earned retirement.

After 37 years manning their jewellery store, Drysdale’s Berwick Village Jewellery, the couple have decided to hang up their tools for the last time.

Drysdale’s has long been the place to go in Berwick for engagement and wedding rings, special gifts and watches, as well as repairs, alterations and even brand-new bespoke creations.

The shop and its staff are, in a way, Berwick royalty – offering an incredible depth of knowledge as well as personalised and friendly service.

The shop has survived decades of changes to Berwick’s streetscape as well as the global pandemic, which hit businesses hard – but after reopening after Melbourne’s strict lockdowns, the couple was overwhelmed by the love and support shown by their loyal customer community.

Both Kay and Jim have been open about the fact that they are well past the traditional retirement age, even though their work has kept them young.

They had been advising customers for several months now that they planned to retire by the end of January – but as the big day looms, Kay said it was certainly “emotional”.

“Customers are being so nice with cards and so-forth,” she said.

“It shows they appreciate our involvement with them for so many years.

“After 37 years as part of the Berwick community we have seen many changes and felt very privileged to be part of the community in which we live, having made so many friends along the way,” Kay explained.

Although they are retiring, Kay said the couple won’t be slowing down, with plans for plenty of hobbies to fill their days.

She said last year’s lockdown had been useful for evaluating life and helping the couple work out what their next steps should be.

“It was time to start looking at what time we have left to do these things.

“Jim has many pages of things he would like to do and achieve and a list of places of interest for us to visit and explore,” she said.

Jim is also looking forward to indulging in his personal interests, including native plants and model trains, as well as “deciding whether to ride his BMW motorbike again or sell it”, according to Kay.

She added that they are both looking forward to spending more time with the grandkids.

Kay also hopes to catch up with friends, renew her interest in photography, “sort out the family history” and explore the countryside.

Jim will not yet be fully retired as he will assist the new owners of Drysdale’s Berwick Village Jewellery while they assume ownership.

Anthony and Sylvia, second generation jewellers and watchmakers, will take over the next chapter in the shop from March and Jim will be on hand part-time to assist with the transition.

Drysdale’s Berwick Village Jewellery will close from Saturday 30 January. Staff will remain in the shop throughout February for collection of repairs – appointments are required as the store will not be open to the public.

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