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Downtown jeweller marks 60 years on Dunlop Street (9 photos)

'We used to do a lot of giftware and we’ve had things as diverse as luggage, men’s shavers, radios and other electronic items, purses, clocks and even grandfather clocks'
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Bill Le Boeuf Jewellers is celebrating 60 years in business and shows no signs of stopping.

The downtown jeweller officially marked six decades business on Nov. 1, and all in the same 52 Dunlop St. W. location, where the store’s namesake first stepped foot into back in 1958.

Although Bill passed away at the age of 85 in 2014, his son, Adam Le Boeuf, is now owner and president of the family business.

But he isn’t quite sure how or when it happened.

“I’ve been working here since I was 14 years old, but in terms of a president position, I don’t know. I guess it just kind of happened,” Le Boeuf tells BarrieToday. “I kind of drifted into the business when Dad retired in 2007, so I think it became official then.

"You grow up through the ranks and before you know it, you’re signing the front of the cheque.”

While the current store owner is a certified gemologist with the Gemological Institute of America in Santa Monica, Calif., Le Boeuf says his dad did not start that way, but ended being at the right place at the right time.

“Dad came through town as a salesman representing a product he developed and had a Canadian or North American patent on, but instead of pursuing that, he ended up purchasing the store, basically,” Le Boeuf says. “The patent was great, though. It was a device that wound automatic watches automatically and with him being a watch-maker, it was handy because the machine could wind about 20 watches, which allowed you to get on with your day.

"The previous owner of this building was looking to sell and Dad just made a quick decision to buy.”

The Dunlop Street location has always been a jewelry store, as the previous owner was also in the business and had been at the address since 1942.

Le Boeuf Jewellers itself has had a lot of changes as time has passed. The president says there was a lot of experimenting with products before settling in to become one of the city’s most trusted jewelry stops.

“We’ve changed as 60 years has gone on," Le Boeuf says. “We used to do a lot of giftware and we’ve had things as diverse as luggage, men’s shavers, radios and other electronic items, purses, clocks and even grandfather clocks. But now we obviously focus on higher-end jewelry and estate jewelry, too.”

There is always much debate on what part of town is better for businesses, and whether a growing south end is the place to be.

“The west end has always been the grittier of the downtown core, but we’ve got great development on the go over at the Five Points, and the whole block between Mary Street and Maple Street is scheduled to be reconfigured by a single party, so we think within a few years there will one or two condominiums and new retail to really revitalized the area," Le Boeuf says. 

Despite the long local history, Le Boeuf says there is no pressure if his 15- and 17-year-old kids may not want to pursue the family business.

“That would be nice, but if they don’t feel like taking it over, we’ll just keeping going until I’ve had enough of it, but I’m having fun so we should be good,” he says.

Check out Bill Le Boeuf Jewellers on their website at www.billleboeufjewellers.com.




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