A bastion of Accrington’s high street for nearly a century is to close its doors for good.
Frank Ogden Jewellers, on Blackburn Road, will shut up shop by Christmas when its owner Jim Deascenti retires.
The family jewellers was founded in 1924 by Frank and Mary Ogden and moved from a small shop on Blackburn Road into the former Lloyds Bank building by the Market Hall in 1967.
For more than nine decades, Frank Ogden’s has served shoppers with jewellery for every occasion, from Christening presents to engagement and wedding rings.
The current working proprietor, 70-year-old Jim Deascenti originally hailed from New York state in the USA, but became part of the family firm when he married Janet, Frank and Mary Ogden’s granddaughter.
The couple moved back to Lancashire from the States and Jim went into partnership with his mother-in-law, Joyce Walker, at the jewellery shop in 1978.
Jim had served in the US Airforce and admits he was inexperienced when he first started in the trade.
He said: “I was an officer in the US armed forces for 11 years, and then I got married and decided to join the family business.
“I honestly knew nothing about jewellery when I started, I had just decided that I wanted to go into business.”
But Jim learnt the trade on the job and stuck with it for nearly 37 years before deciding to finally call time on the establishment after his son pursued a different career.
Jim said: “Simply, I’m retiring because I’m old. The business has been going for three generations, but the next generation have all gone and grown up.
“I enjoyed the work but it’s time to move on.”
The same four staff have worked with Jim for 19 years, two of whom are also retiring. Although it is the end of an era for Jim, he is optimistic about the future.
Jim said: “It’s really sad, we’ve worked with the same crew for the last 20 years. We really enjoyed each other’s company and I’ll miss that.
“I’ve never had a problem amusing myself or found myself bored, and I’m sure that will continue after I retire.
“I don’t have a masterplan though, I don’t believe in them. I’m not going to sit around making great lists and plans. After all, life is for living.”