Longtime Raleigh jeweler to close

Posted November 30, 2011 2:14 p.m. EST
Updated November 30, 2011 6:59 p.m. EST

— Jolly's Jewelers, North Carolina's oldest family-owned jewelry company, plans to close by early next year.

Frank Jolly Ragsdale, the fifth generation of the Jolly family to run the 130-year-old store, said Wednesday that he is retiring. The recession and what he calls a loss of integrity in the jewelry business forced him to make the decision.

"It's an obstacle. If you're going to compete, you have to get in the ditch with everyone else, and I'm not going to do it," the 64-year-old Ragsdale said.

Jolly's opened on South Wilmington Street in 1881 but spent most of its existence at Cameron Village. It moved to North Hills several years ago.

Most of Ragdale's life has been spent inside the walls of Jolly's. He said he has seen lots of smiles as people picked out engagement rings and baby gifts, watches and anniversary presents. He became emotional when thinking of the customers he won't be able to serve anymore.

"We learned to take care of people," he said. "Those people who came through the doors were supremely important. They don't have to come through the door. They pay us a compliment when they cross that threshold."

Jolly's will begin its closing sale on Thursday, he said.