Nation Valley News
WINCHESTER — Retiring jewellery and gift-shop proprietor Gary Annable was thanked last week by the community he’s served for the last 38 years.
Friends, colleagues and customers wore their hearts on their sleeves, sometimes tearfully — as did the retiree himself — during the Aug. 23 sendoff under a tent pitched beside the Annable’s Jewellery store that will cease operations at the end of this month.
There were moments of levity, too — as when Owen Shortt of the Winchester Downtown Beautification Committee highlighted the honouree’s sage advice that “$19.95 sounds better than $20,” or when lawyer Stephen Ault gently chided Annable for not hanging on for a full 40 years.
“Gary is one of the last family-owned businesses that has been a foundation to the Winchester economy for many, many years,” observed Shortt. He added, in a voice that began to quaver: “He will be greatly missed, but I think at the same time, if there’s anybody here who deserves a retirement, it’s this gentleman right here.”
“Thirty-eight years in business is certainly something to be celebrated,” said Main Street Clothing Company’s Lisa Williams — the buyer of Annable’s store building. Williams went on to thank Annable for his long service purveying special-occasion gifts that were “exactly” what buyers wanted. “And we left with it gift-wrapped and read to go with so much thought.”
She also highlighted the inspirational example he has set for newer business owners and entrepreneurs. “Thank you for showing us that we can do this … We can survive a small little independent store, in a small town, in a world of box stores and online shopping, that people still do really value quality products and amazing customer service…. Thank you for paving the way for us and inspiring us to open our own businesses.”
Above, extensive video footage of Annable’s retirement party.
An emotional Williams surmised it would be “very hard for Annable to close the door on his 513 Main Street shop at the end of the month. She wished him “some peace of mind” knowing that she and her husband will “keep the building looking nice, and we’re going to keep it a place of business that values that same things that you value, customer service and hard work. And we’re in it for the long haul.”
The Williamses are set to soon begin renovating the space into a second Winchester boutique. But she promised they will continue to share its history and let clients know that “Gary Annable ran a very successful jewellery store here for 38 years.”
“Well, there’s no chance I’m going to shed a tear,” quipped Stephen Ault, in roasting mode. “So you retired, big deal.”
“Gary’s come a long way … all but a mile and half from the Annable settlement into town,” Ault noted.
Glancing at the audience, the lawyer joked, “You still have a chance to say this isn’t a retirement party; this is a re-stocking party. We’re going to run it another couple of years.”
Congratulations also came from North Dundas Mayor Eric Duncan — as well as MP Guy Lauzon, who delivered both federal and provincial scrolls.
Annable acknowledged a very busy last couple of months since announcing his impending retirement. During the ongoing liquidation sale, he’s waited on more than 4,000 customers, taken in over 1,100 repairs and changed 300 watch batteries.
He thanked his employees Susan and Libby and expressed gratitude for their support — especially when his wife, Diane, was sick before her death in 2014. “If it hadn’t been for them, I would never have gotten through,” acknowledged Annable, also expressing gratitude to family members for assisting him through the wind-down of the business, including his brother, his sister and his son, Thomas.
The shop also “started with family,” he told the crowd. “My mom and dad signed for me. I took a loan for $30,000, at 12.5 percent. I got it paid. I’m still here.”
He also paid a final tribute to his late spouse, saying, “I know she’s looking down on both of us.”
A big downpour concluded the Annable retirement festivities.
Advertisement — Happy Face Nursery School Family Fun Day, Sept. 9
Enjoy the Stormont County Fair — Sept. 1-4, 2017
The Stormont County Fair arrives next weekend with 150th celebrations and so much fun. Check out the video here but also see the Fair website — stormontcountyfair.ca — for the full list of events. Hit the Midway Bracelet button on the website for more info to purchase pre-fair sales online or onsite before 11:30 a.m. on Friday.