Currently located at 201 E, Wishkah St. in Aberdeen, Wiitamaki Jewelry was founded by Bill and Norma Wiitamaki in 1926. (David Haerle/The Daily World)

Currently located at 201 E, Wishkah St. in Aberdeen, Wiitamaki Jewelry was founded by Bill and Norma Wiitamaki in 1926. (David Haerle/The Daily World)

Wiitamaki Jewelry shuttering after close to a century in downtown Aberdeen

By David Haerle

The Daily World

Wiitamaki Jewelry Store — a cornerstone downtown Aberdeen business since 1926 — is closing its doors.

Founded in 1926 by Bill and Norma Wiitamaki, it is Aberdeen’s oldest family-owned, full-service jewelry store. The family business currently includes the fifth generation of family members working in the store.

“It’s a sad day for us and the whole family, said Mike Giron, who co-owns the business with his three siblings. “Over 100 family members have worked here over the years.”

The family sold the building back in June, but plans to stay open for the time being to sell off a lot of remaining inventory, so there is no specific closing date just now.

“Well, it kind of depends on if and when we sell all the merchandise,” Giron said of a potential closing date. “We’ll probably be here through the holidays.”

Mike has been working in the store for decades, having started there as a teenager.

“I begged to come in in grade school, but they made me wait until junior high. My grandma said, ‘No, you have to be a kid first. My grandma, Norma, was a good lady. My Grandpa Bill and grandma were great people,” he said of the store’s late founders.

They were Alexa Giron’s great-grandparents and she, too, is sad to see the store close. Alexa, 24, has been working there since she was 17, but got her start much earlier. She’s in the fourth generation of family members who have worked there.

“When I was growing up, I was always down here,” she said of the store. “I learned to adjust watch bands when I was 7 years old.”

“It breaks my heart,” she said of the store’s closing. “But we gotta do what we gotta do,” she said frankly. “I definitely am going to miss all my customers. I’ve enjoyed working all my years with them.”

And Alexa said she will always cherish the days working alongside her father.

“My highlight has definitely been working with my dad every day and building that bond with him,” she said, noting she wasn’t sure what her future holds, but she will likely further her education.

As for what he plans to do after the shop shutters, Mike Giron isn’t quite certain either.

“I’m not really sure after the door closes,” he said, speculating that he could possibly start up some new business incarnation. “I’m sure we’ll have some inventory left. It all depends on what my brother and sisters want to do. We are still all four partners.”

In the meantime, Giron says he will enjoy the time serving the business’ many loyal customers, as the store and family has done for decades.

“The whole family is going to miss everybody,” he said. “It’s kind of a sad time, but things change and business isn’t as good as it was when we bought this building 20 years ago. So it’s time to downsize to something different.”

Wiitamaki’s is now holding its retirement/going-out-of-business sale with all inventory at 70% off. The store is located at 201 E, Wishkah St. in Aberdeen and hours are 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturdays. The phone number is 360-532-6280.

 

Five generations of family members have worked at Wiitamaki Jewelry over the years. The family business anoounced it will close after 94 years in downtown Aberdeen. (Courtesy photo)

Five generations of family members have worked at Wiitamaki Jewelry over the years. The family business anoounced it will close after 94 years in downtown Aberdeen. (Courtesy photo)

The late Bonnie Giron, center, ran the store for years. She is pictured here surrounded by her sons, Frank Heronsen, left, and Mike Giron, and daughters Peggy Klinger, bottom left, and Sherri Hughes, in a family portrait taken during the holidays in 2012 (Daily World file photo)

The late Bonnie Giron, center, ran the store for years. She is pictured here surrounded by her sons, Frank Heronsen, left, and Mike Giron, and daughters Peggy Klinger, bottom left, and Sherri Hughes, in a family portrait taken during the holidays in 2012 (Daily World file photo)