People wait outside McCarty’s Jewelry in Belmont Shore to take advantage of its going-out-of-business sale, with some items discounted up to 70%. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

For nearly nine decades, McCarty’s Jewelry has served the Belmont Shore community, a historic run set to end some time before the end of the year.

“I’ve been here since 1982,” owner Page Henley said. “It’s a difficult thing to do, but it’s time to not work six days a week.”

While Henley’s ownership began 38 years ago, the Belmont Shore jewelry store first opened for business 88 years ago in 1932. McCarty’s is tied for title of the neighborhood’s oldest business with Belmont Shore Barbershop, which also was established in ’32.

Now in his 70s, Henley said the business has actually been doing well this year, all things considered, noting the closure has nothing to do with the pandemic. But with a twin sister already enjoying retirement and a son he’d like to spend more time with, he said it is just time to hang up his loupe.

While he would like to retire sooner rather than later, Henley said his retirement fund is tied up in the store’s inventory. So the doors will remain open with items on sale—with discounts up to 70%—until most or all inventory is gone, which could be through as late as Dec. 24, Henley said.

Page Henley, owner of McCarty’s Jewelry since 1982, chats with customers during the store’s going-out-of-business sale. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

Despite the shock of the closure announcement, Henley said the community has been extremely supportive. Throughout the day, lines form out the door, as customers wait—socially distanced—to take advantage of the sale.

“I am saddened to see this Belmont Shore institution closing,” said 3rd District Councilwoman Suzie Price. “I will miss the greeter they have posted outside the store, the friendly and consistent service they provide and their endless contributions to local nonprofits throughout the city.”

Security guard Jim Gorsuch has spent a decade waving to and greeting passersby and customers outside McCarty’s and has become as much a staple of Belmont Shore as the jewelry store itself.

Henley doesn’t like to be contributing to the seemingly endless string of business closures in Belmont Shore. He said Amazon is largely to blame for the neighborhood’s lack of longstanding privately owned shops and restaurants.

But not all hope is lost for the legacy business. Henley said he has made it a priority to try to sell the store to a new owner but noted that nothing formal is currently underway.

“It’s been an honor to be in a position where I’ve been involved with so many people’s lives,” Henley said. “I’m appreciative for all the relationships I’ve been able to form. It’s really hard to step away from that.”