Nettleton's Jewellery celebrates a century in business

A family-owned jewelry business is celebrating a major milestone — the equivalent of not one but two golden anniversaries in Ottawa.

First store opened in 1916 on Queen Street

Nettleton's former store at 108 Bank St. in 1944. The family-owned jeweller celebrated 100 years in business earlier this week. (Nettleton's Jewellery)

A family-owned jewelry business is celebrating a major milestone — the equivalent of not one but two golden anniversaries in Ottawa. 

Nettleton's Jewellery Ltd. has been part of the local scene in one form or another since 1916.

During their early days, the Nettleton family earned a reputation as highly-skilled watch inspectors for drivers, engineers and conductors of Canada's major railway lines.

They opened their first store on Queen Street, although they moved to Bank Street soon afterwards. When Douglas Nettleton took over from his father in the 1950s, the family branched out from watches and also became known as top-notch jewellers.

Douglas Nettleton, right, the former owner of Nettleton's Jewellery Ltd., was recognized by Mayor Jim Watson this past week as his store — now run by his three sons — celebrated 100 years in business. (Alan Neal/CBC)

"The important thing was to look after the customers and be honest," Nettleton, now 88, told Alan Neal, host of CBC's All In A Day.

"Telling them the truth, you know, especially when it came to repairs and that type of thing. Just being straight honest."

His three sons Richard, Cameron and Geoff worked during high school in their father's store, learning the trade and eventually — though not immediately — taking over the reins. 

"I'm the eldest, but I started the latest. I went out west and was ski bum for a few years, and then realized it was dealing with people that was what I enjoyed doing," said Richard Nettleton.

"[So I] came back and started working for the family business."

The Nettletons opened their current and only location in the Westgate Shopping Centre on Carling Avenue in 1988.

While the threat posed by big box retailers like Wal-Mart has made the family's livelihood a bit more precarious, it doesn't seem like the Nettletons have any plans to leave the jewelry business behind.

Listen below to their All In A Day interview.