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Oak Harbor's Island Jewelers to close after 37 years
Jeff and Wynne Mack of Island Jewelers in Oak Harbor are selling off their inventory, packing up shop and preparing for a slower pace.
After 37 years in the retail jewelry business, beginning with a shop in eastern Oregon with his father and ending with a 20-year run as the owner of Island Jewelers, Jeff’s ready to wrap up the retail end and take a little time for his family and himself.
“It’s time to slow down a little bit,” said Jeff, who’s spent 10 to 12 hours a day at the jeweler’s bench since he bought the longtime Oak Harbor business.
Chuck Roberts opened Island Jewelers in 1968 on Pioneer Way where Zorba’s is currently located. One year later George and Lee Coster purchased the business and in 1980 moved the operation into a new storefront next to Hallmark near Safeway. The Macks purchased the business in 1990, then moved the shop to its current location in 2001 after they bought the old Whidbey Island Bank building, which still has the original walk-in vault.
“These old bank buildings make the coolest little jewelry stores,” Jeff said.
A mixture of health reasons, an interest in exploring the rest of the country including Yellowstone National Park, the loss of his longtime manager whose husband was recently transferred to Hawaii, and an interested building tenant all contributed to the Macks’ decision to pursue a different, and more leisurely, path.
“The time is right to do it,” he said.
Jeff and Wynne Mack, 54 and 53, are busily preparing for three graduation celebrations within the next month: Their eldest son Jeffrey will graduate from the University of Northern Florida in Jacksonville, daughter Christine will graduate from the Seattle Arts Institute, and their youngest son Steven is graduating from Oak Harbor High School in June.
“The economy has nothing to do with our decision to close Island Jewelers and lease the building,” said Jeff, who plans to take a year-long hiatus and then open a small jewelry repair shop in town.
“I will continue to take care of my customers,” he pledged. “We are grateful for all the support we have received through the years.”
The Macks will continue to own the property and have accepted a long-term lease on the building. Jeff won’t say who’s on the new lease, but he’s confident the new tenants “will be a strong addition to Oak Harbor,” appeal to all ages and likely add a few jobs to the dry island labor market.
May 6 marked the first day of the liquidation sale that will continue until the inventory is gone, he said. The final day depends on how fast the inventory moves.
The building will undergo “major renovations” before the new tenants move in, Mack said, adding the lessees will take over the space early this summer.
As of this week Jeff Mack is the only business license holder for the Island Jeweler property at 31275 Highway 20 and no construction permits have been filed, according to city officials.