After over 125 years of successful trading, the owners of independent Aylesbury jewellers Hester Clarke have revealed that the store will soon be closing its doors for good.
The shock retirement announcement comes with the news that the close down will be marked with a huge sale, which will see all the store’s stock reduced by 50 per cent; including fine gold and diamond pieces for which the popular retailer is renowned.
Independent Aylesbury jewellers Hester Clarke has a heritage which dates back to 1892.
Still owned and run by the Clarke family, the business has a reputation for outstanding, personalised customer service and unwavering high quality. Managing Director Julia Clarke and her sister, Director, Nicola Clarke are the fourth generation of family to run the business, with Julia’s son Michael being the fifth generation to get involved.
After dedicating their careers to the family-run store, both owners Julia and Nicola have made the difficult decision to retire and this unfortunately means the end for the much-loved high street name. But, of course it is not a decision they have taken lightly, as Julia explains: “I have so many memories of being in the store. From the age of twelve, I would come into the shop every Saturday; I can remember making up the stock tickets.
“Initially I had no interest in joining the business and neither did Nicola. We both went off and did our own thing, but eventually we ended up back here running the store together.”
Nicola, who joined the family business in 1977 adds: “I have loved being part of the business. It’s a huge privilege; keeping customers’ secrets, being part of their surprises, making memories. We keep a big box of tissues in the store because it’s not uncommon for our clients to shed a tear of joy when they collect their pieces.”
Discussing her rich family history, Julia explains: “Victor Clarke, the founding member of the Clarke family jewellery business, was trained in Birmingham and initially merged with Wilson and Gill in London. He was joined by his sons Lawson and Raphael in 1924, who later took over the family business in 1947, following Victor’s death. The Aylesbury showroom was established in 1969 by Lawson’s son (my father), Christopher Clarke and his wife Ann (my mother), as a bespoke service to cater for all fine jewellery, timepiece and quality gift requirements. Both mum and dad still take a great interest in the business; dad still comes in to work for a couple of hours every day to see how we are all getting on and enjoys sharing his vast jewellery knowledge with the team and our customers.”
Nicola concludes: “It’s been a really hard decision to come to, but the time feels right for us to move on, start a new chapter of our lives and retire from the jewellery business. We are going to miss the store, customers and of course our wonderful team. When we launch the sale on Saturday 24th November, we hope that customers old and new will come to make their final purchases and take away a lasting memory of Hester Clarke.”
The Hester Clarke closing down sale commences on Saturday 24th November at 10am. All jewellery including diamond rings, coloured stones, earrings, necklaces and bracelets will be included in the sale and discounted by 50 per cent.