I Built These Walls
When people ask “me what are you going to do when you retire?” , I simply say “yes”or “all of the
above”…one thing that I have discovered is that one’s “Bucket List” gets longer and time gets shorter!
I have loved my stay at J. Olson Jewelers. Twenty-eight years ago, I signed a lease for what began as a large pile of dirt at the corner of routes 2A & 27, and for me
the beginning of a long relationship with an ever-changing community.
In my post-college years, equipped with a psychology degree, I was sure I was destined to do great
charitable things in social work. I lasted 9 months in the field before burn-out reared its’ ugly head! So I did what all college flunkees do, I went to Morocco, learned a craft, and a new career was born.
In 1985 I went to the bank for an $80,000 loan to open a fine jewelry store, (I had previously owned Cottage Crafts Jewelry at the Nagog Mall and felt that I had exercised my
mercantile chops)…they gave me only $50,000. I had to beg, borrow, and steal (well, almost!) to stock the store. I
remember my Dad, a psychology professor at prestigious Amherst College, sitting on the carpeted floor covering little boxes that would become jewelry displays because I could not afford to buy pre-made ones!
The Best of Times, The Worst of Times…
I’ve seen it all, ridden the tide of good and bad
economies, watched businesses come and
go, dreams realized, dreams shattered…
“It must be great to own your own business” is a phrase I’ve heard over the years, and my reply would be that “It is great, but it owns you!” You must eat, sleep, and drink the positives and the negatives and learn to change at the drop of a hat.
So, I am now the sole remaining original tenant at the lovely Acton Woods Plaza, and will be turning the store over to my long-time goldsmith and friend, Joseph Keikian. I
am thrilled that he will continue the legacy which I started equipped with his own set of skills, charm, and creativity.
And I am sad. What began as customers has ended as friends. Long term relationships with whole families and new generations have been forged.
My father is gone, my mother is 91, so it’s time to start a next chapter of travel and reflection and ease, and maybe a little jewelry…
I want to thank all those that have traveled this road with me and made my retirement a reality and wish you too the ability to do what it is that inspires you. May you pursue
your passions as I have and will continue to pursue mine, because after all, it occurs to me that I am the American dream as aren’t we all!
Joan Olson is the owner of J. Olson Jewelers in Acton at the corner of routes 2A &27. The retirement sale has begun and will go through December 29th, 2012. Long-time jeweler for J. Olson will be acquiring the store on February 1st,