LONG-TIME Terralong Street shop owner Stephen Ray will close the doors of his jewellery shop for the last time on Friday, bringing down the curtain on 25 years of service to the Kiama municipality.
Mr Ray will turn back the clock more than 30 years when he moves his business back to his Werri Beach home, where he will continue to repair jewellery and have some stock on hand.
"I'm certainly not ready to retire, but the move will allow me to concentrate more on my hobby of bonsais and put more time doing community service with the Gerringong Lions Club," the 59-year-old said.
Mr Ray first moved his business from his home to Miller's Arcade in Gerringong about 30 years ago, where he remained for five years.
"I then had the opportunity to take over the shop in Terralong Street after the previous owner moved his vintage jewellery business to Wollongong, and have been there ever since."
He said he had enjoyed the past 25 years and owed a great deal of thanks to his many loyal customers.
"But now is a good time for me to make this move, with the new landlord wanting me to commit to a new, long-term lease," he said.
Mr Ray said the face of retail was constantly changing, with the internet and new shops outside town affecting retail in Kiama.
"I think a lot of people north of Bombo see it as easier and more convenient to go to Stockland, while some people from Gerringong probably stay on the expressway and head north too," he said.
"One of the major changes in the industry over recent years has been the quality of jewellery, with rings and other items now much lighter - in fact some are so thin it makes them impossible to repair when they break."
Mr Ray will be available to visitors in Werri Beach, still manufacturing, remodelling and repairing old favourites, by appointment, and he is also considering offering a pick-up and delivery service.
"I suppose I will also have to finally do something about getting a website, but I am still getting around to that," he added with a smile.