Established back in May 1991, JD Carroll Jewellers has been a familiar site in Droylsden Precinct offering a wide range of traditional gold, silver and fashion jewellery plus watches and gifts. The family business, managed by husband and wife David and Jennifer Carroll, will be closing its doors for the last time at the end of April.
We caught up with the couple and asked them how it all began for them in Droylsden?
“Friends of ours had the jewellers originally and wanted to sell the shop because he had three others at the time back in 1991. Jen had already had the training from Jaeger and it was a nice product to sell. Dave was brought up in Droylsden and his family still live in Droylsden.”
You are an independent jeweller so how difficult is it on the High Street compared to the big names?
“Through our friends that we bought it from we joined their buying group which started with 15 jewellers and grew to around 40. So, you have the combined buying power of these independents working together to get discount from the manufacturers. That meant we could also offer discounts on our stock to customers in order to compete.“
During your time at the shop what kind of brands did you stock?
“We always had watches and went through a few different makes such as Sekonda, Accurist, Rotary and Citizen. It was 9 carat gold which was our best seller when we first had the shop along with diamond rings which we built up over the years. You can imagine the challenge in financing because this is big money for these types of products. Another big seller was the Victorian bracelets from Solar which was exceptionally popular, but we only focussed on quality brands.”
Was your target market local for Droylsden or beyond?
“People come from all over now and say you have such a good reputation. There are customers from Middleton, Stockport, Withington and we have a very good customer who travels from Prestwich who buys his wife’s jewellery from us. When we started, we already had a girl who worked with us who had been here for a number of years herself and she worked with us for quite a time before she changed her career. It wasn’t easy in the beginning because you plough everything you have into the business and even Dave sold the car so we could buy earrings. We have a really good reputation for repairs and the lady who does them is superb.”
I expect you’ve encountered your own ups and downs during your time in the shop?
“Yes, there have been a few things that really hit our trade like the redevelopment of the precinct and the Metrolink coming through Droylsden. We’ve also had quite a few bad recessions, but we have got very loyal customers who we are going to miss. They come in and say, ‘are you going, are you being forced out’ and we say that we are retiring, and they are pleased for us that we are taking retirement.”
Was it a difficult decision to retire?
“We’ve just got to move on. It was a difficult decision and we were always worried about the staff, but we are now both in our 70’s and we want to enjoy life. It is the right time and the precinct is getting some improvements and development over the next five years, but we couldn’t commit to stay that long. We’ve worked all our life and we want time together now after almost 30 years with the business. People always said we would know when it would be the right time to retire and we came to that decision at the end of last year.”
You’ve also had a great input in local community events in the town centre?
“Dave was Chair of Droylsden Retailers Association and in the past few years we have both been very active with Droylsden Town Team with events in the centre and Christmas Switch On’s.”
So, with your final days looming at the shop is there anything you’d like to say to your loyal staff and customers?
“We would just like to say a big Thank You to our staff, especially to Carol for 20 years service and Tina for the last 8 years. We are sorry to leave you, but we are now taking another path with retirement. Our customers have been loyal and without them we wouldn’t have had the business. It’s true if people don’t use their local shops, they won’t have local shops which is sad. I think we have put a lot into Droylsden over the years and thank you the local people for supporting us. We have our Golden Wedding in July and other events coming up so we’re going to be kept busy.”
Thanks to Dave and Jen and we wish you a great retirement from About Tameside.