SHERIDAN — A business that has occupied a storefront on Main Street for more than 50 years will soon close its doors.
Richard Kraft, 82, grew up in Wisconsin. He and his wife, Marjorie Kraft, came to Sheridan in 1958 to take a job at an existing jewelry company that, at the time, existed next to the Mint Bar. Kraft worked for Howard Johnson at Jorgenson Jewelry. Then in 1964, Kraft purchased Ann’s Gift Shop and established Kraft’s Fine Jewelry.
Steve Kraft, the current owner of the store, began helping his father in 1979. Steve Kraft then managed the branch store in Buffalo from 1980 until 1988, and later purchased Kraft’s Fine Jewelry from his parents.
Now, after decades in the business, Steve Kraft has decided to retire.
“After 38 years in retail, I decided it’s time to retire and go do something different,” Kraft said Monday, adding that he’s not quite sure yet what he’ll do.
Kraft added that business has still been good, though much different than it was when his father opened the store in 1964. Now, more people shop online and use different avenues to research and explore their options.
“It’s time for the new, young generation to take over, the ones that understand all of the new technology out there,” Kraft said.
Kraft’s Fine Jewelry has launched a going-out-of-business sale that Kraft hopes will last just a few days. Items have been priced with steep discounts with the aim of moving products out of the store quickly.
Even though he looks forward to retirement, Kraft said it would be strange to not see the store on Main Street.
“Sheridan has been good to us; it’s just time,” Kraft said. “When you don’t love what you do anymore, it’s time to do something different.”
Others noted the departure of the longtime business, too.
Kraft’s Fine Jewelry has been a member of the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce since 1969 and has been a supporter of many local events, giving donations regularly to various causes in the community.
“As a child growing up in Sheridan, I’d often stop and admire the beauty of the gems displayed in their storefront windows,” Chamber CEO Dixie Johnson said. “Since joining the Chamber in 2011, I’ve seen firsthand the generosity and support Kraft’s has extended to several groups and causes throughout the community. They’ve given donations and sponsored many fundraising efforts year after year. The community definitely will feel the impact of Kraft’s store closing and will miss their long-standing presence on Main Street.”