Nielsen’s Watches and Jewelery, a downtown Peterborough boutique for generations, will close next month as owner Tony Bustos retires.
Bustos, 70, has owned the George Street North store for almost 26 years.
But he believes the business has been around – operated by an estate of four longtime owners – for as long as he’s been alive or more.
“I would say it’s been 70 or 80 years since it’s been a jewelry store,” Bustos said Wednesday in the store. “He’s been in the community for a long, long time. “
This week, Bustos was busy selling discounted watches, rings and chains before closing the store for good in mid-November.
He loved running the business, he says, “I loved it.
Nielsen’s was named after the late Hans Nielsen, who bought the store in 1972 with his wife Connie; they owned the business for 24 years.
Bustos bought the store from Connie in early 1996 – after Hans Nielsen died – and decided not to change his name.
This business technique – true to a recognized name – came from Bustos’ experience as a business owner in his native Mexico.
He started by selling jewelry, Mexican blankets and bikinis to tourists in Cancun, he said, later to build a liquor store and drugstore.
He met his wife Marlene in Cancun: Bustos served her in her store (which she visited daily, while on vacation) and kept in touch when she returned home to Peterborough.
He then offered to visit her on his return, and the couple lived in Cancun until Marlene needed to return to Peterborough for family reasons.
When the couple moved to Peterborough, Bustos took on a variety of jobs: driving travelers in a van to Toronto Airport, for example, selling cars and later selling insurance.
In the meantime, he had met Hans Nielsen at the Rotary Club – and Nielsen was very keen on Bustos buying the store from him.
Bustos initially refused, but then reconsidered and bought the store to continue it after Nielsen’s death.
Over the years Bustos has loved doing community service in Peterborough, he said: he was a board member of the Downtown Business Improvement Area for a decade, for example, and a member of the Knights of Columbus. .
In retirement, he and his wife will likely travel.
“I loved my life – all the time,” Bustos said.
Nielsen’s Watches and Jewelery is located at 406 George St. N., on the east side of George Street in Hunter Street (next to Dodrio).