Courtneys have been assisting brides and grooms in Armidale and surrounding areas for the last 48 years with their engagement rings and wedding rings. FOCUS catches up with David and Mandy Courtney about the next chapter of their lives and the end of an era.
Remind us how long Courtneys Jewellers has been here in Armidale, and tell us about the journey?
We have been in three locations since Courtneys commenced in Armidale. Firstly, the family purchased an existing jewellers in Beardy Street (Sourrys & Fletchers before them). In the early 1970s the road was closed and our shop became one of the first businesses to be in the era of open street shopping malls; there was a lot of activity in this area, we found, until the development of shopping plazas.
We moved from the Mall and for a short period of time traded in upper Dangar Street in the early ‘80s, whilst our current shop location was being developed. We moved in where we are now in December 1984; how time gets away – 33 years!
We have always classed ourselves as a traditional jewellery store i.e. family owner operators, sales in rings, watches, giftware and service in areas that we can. The traditional jeweller, we have noticed in the last 10 years or so, is becoming less and less, unfortunately – whether it’s from – like ourselves – family heading in different directions, the many chain store type jewellery shops, internet shopping. Who knows … it’s somewhat sad.
You have some exciting news to announce! Please tell us about it, and what does it mean for your loyal customers?
Unfortunately for some with future plans, our assistance will come to an end. Yes … Tracy at FOCUS has got, in media terms, “the scoop”! Courtneys Jewellers in Armidale will come to an end. The second generation of the Courtney family are retiring.
How did this come about?
After being in the jewellery business in Armidale since 1970, you can basically in two words say, “burnt out”.
David, after leaving school in 1975 joined up with his parents; his wife, Mandy joining up to the business in 1981, with a progression to take over the family business – which occurred in 1990, when David’s mother, Norma, retired and moved to Murwillumbah.
What have you loved most about the last 40 plus years?
Being in the jewellery trade for the many years has had many exciting, interesting and difficult times; we will just mention some of the exciting stages!
Probably the most exciting and interesting would be the introduction of mass production battery driven Quartz watches in the mid ‘70s, the digital watch being the most popular at that time. David had just finished school and this era was commencing. For most, having mechanical wind up watches or mechanical rotor wound automatic watches, this evolution brought a very big difference into timekeeping – especially with the digital watches having alarms, stopwatches etc. They created a learning curve as well. Nowadays watches are telling your heart rate, have built in GPS and all sorts of other functions; technology has
progressed so much since the wind up watch!
We have been very fortunate to have had good staff over the years, a factor that brings good stability to a business, with Emma Hooper 28 years and Libby Martin 11 years.
What does the future hold for Mandy and David?
We love Armidale, with the four seasons; it’s close to the coast, it’s midway between Sydney and Brisbane, close by windy motorcycle roads, 4WD bush trails, camping areas. Armidale has got it all, and we will stay on our Armidale property.
As most know, we are passionate about motorcycle riding and will tend to get the bikes out on a regular occurrence (not in winter though!) An off road camper trailer we acquired several years ago will be out of the shed and utilised more as well. Retirement will make it a lot easier to enjoy what we love doing.
In the last couple of years we have managed to do several outback trips, and our future planned trips will be a crossing of the Simpson Desert, Nullarbor Plain and the Kimberleys in our crew cab 4WD.
Most recently we became grandparents, with our daughter, Lauren and husband Wayne having a baby boy, whom we will now be able to spend precious time with.
We both joined the Rural Fire Service 20 years ago after living in the district for a while, feeling that we should give some of our time doing voluntary work for the cause. David went through the ranks in his local brigade and attained Captaincy a number of years ago.
With the jewellery business, farm etc. we seem to have found time to manage that as well (is there is a saying, “busy people seem to find time”?) Perhaps in retirement we will be able to do even more; hopefully health holds out.
Final say …
To finish, we wish to thank our current staff and past staff over the years, our many suppliers in the jewellery trade over the 48 years, FOCUS – cheers, Tracy! But most of all, the people of Armidale, Uralla, Guyra and district for your support – we hope we have created some joy for you with a gift from COURTNEYS JEWELLERS Armidale.
Thanks David and Mandy.