Maine Jeweler to Relocate After 76 Years
J. Dostie Jewelers will move from Lewiston to Yarmouth this spring.
The landmark jeweler has been in Lewiston for 76 years, and in its current spot for more than 60 years.
The relocation will begin in February 2024 with the new store, about 25 miles away, estimated to open in April.
The business was founded in 1947 by Jules Dostie, who was trained as a watchmaker in the U.S. Army’s watch department.
Jules and his wife, Yvette, later expanded the business, with his son Daniel joining in 1977, and later, in 2003, his grandson Michael.
The decision to move the longstanding family business out of the community was a difficult one, said Michael Dostie, the store’s third-generation owner, but was made after careful consideration.
In recent years, more of its business has come from outside of Lewiston. As of January, 75 percent of its sales came from customers outside of the community.
“I am a steward of my grandfather’s business, and that carries a responsibility to our clients, making it especially painful when considering the effect this move will have on the people coming from the greater Augusta area, and those who already travel so far to visit us from Franklin County or Maine’s Western Lakes & Hills. I can only do my best to make it worth the extra trip.”
Dostie also noted that changes within the community and its local government were factors in the move.
“The dynamics here in downtown and [the] city leadership’s focus have both changed in such a way that a sustainable future here is no longer certain. We had to explore how to adapt to best serve our clients on a regional basis.”
The Lewiston community also experienced a tragedy in October when a shooter killed 18 people and injured 13 others in a shooting spree that spanned two locations within the city.
The company clarified that this incident was not a factor in its decision, as its relocation plans had been underway for more than a year and its contracts were finalized a month prior.
“The horrific tragedy that occurred on Oct. 25 had no bearing on this decision, nor should it be a reflection on the city of Lewiston. Our hearts break for those lost and their loved ones, and this release was postponed out of respect for those in mourning,” said the company in a statement.
Moving the business will be a challenge, but one the jeweler is looking forward to, it said, adding the “small, quiet” town of Yarmouth is more centrally located for their clients, with access from the mid-coast to southern Maine.
The new location will be slightly smaller, but the more intimate setting will allow the jeweler to focus on its jewelry design and fabrication work.
“Lewiston will always hold a special place in my heart,” said Dostie. “I grew up here, played a little hockey here, returned as an adult, met my wife, and completely fell in love with this city, but sometimes to move forward you need to let something go.”
Daniel Dostie, Michael’s father, reflected on the business’ struggles, successes, and its future ahead of the move.
“I’ve seen recessions in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but the recession in 2008 pushed us to the brink. Difficult decisions and sacrifices had to be made then, and here we are, 15 years later with things changing once again. This is the best way for my dad’s, my own, and now my son's company to be able to serve our friends and customers for the next 20 years.”
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