FARMINGTON — As 2014 came to a close, so did Trask Jewelers after 159 years of business in downtown Farmington.

The jewelry store owned by John Anderson, who bought the business from his father more than 30 years ago, closed its doors for the last time at 5 p.m. New Year’s Eve after a rush of last-minute repairs and sales.

Wearing a collared shirt, tie, and magnifiers attached to his glasses, Anderson stood behind a half-empty case of watches and observed last-minute customers browse in the small store for the last time. He and the store’s other two full-time employees retired when the store closed.

Anderson, 62, said he was touched by regular customers who wished him well on the last day.

He had been working at Trask Jewelers for 40 years and is retiring to spend time with his 95-year-old father, Paul Anderson.

The Main Street jewelery store was run by three families over the past 150 years. Anderson said the business was started in 1855 by J.A. Blake and run by his family until 1928, when Blake’s watchmaker, L.G. Trask, took over the business.

Paul Anderson took over the business in 1955, following the Trasks. In 1981, it was passed down to John Anderson.

“But this time I couldn’t find anyone to take it over,” he said.

By succeeding his father in the business, Anderson beat the odds. About 30 percent of businesses are passed on to the second generation in the family, according to the Family Business Institute, a consulting group based in Raleigh, N.C.

Anderson takes pride in the store’s longevity downtown, noting that Franklin Pierce was president when the business first opened its doors and Abraham Lincoln was still practicing law when it served its first customers. It lived on through the Great Depression and recessions, though Anderson said he thinks people have started to value the personal nature of his small business less and value shopping online and chain stores more.

“The small brick-and-mortar stores have a hard time,” he said.

Gloria McGraw, owner of County Seat Realty, which is down the block from Trask, said she thought Anderson deserved recognition for his tenure as a Farmington business owner.

“He’s been here for many years and (was) just a landmark for downtown Farmington,” she said.

Anderson said he was inspired by a Farmington grocery store owner who once told him that he didn’t maintain his business from the money made in one-time sales but from the money he made in sale after sale over the years from lifetime customers.

“If we treat you right, it’s what we make over a lifetime,” he said.

Paul Anderson, who lives in Florida, still does some repair work as a watchmaker. His son said he also might continue to do some repair work on the side after he retires.

While Anderson is ready to be done with his strenuous work at the store, he said he enjoyed his time as a business owner in Farmington, which he described as a “Norman Rockwell kind of town.”

Trask said the staff has had a rush of last-minute repairs from people who wanted to have their watches fixed before the business closed.

He said running the store was an involved venture, with 60- or 70-hour workweeks. He said he was unable to find a younger person who could buy the business and was interested in the work a store like his takes.

“You wear a lot of hats,” he said.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252

[email protected]

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