Day’s Jewelers sales associates Scott Concannon and Kelsey McGrath assist Molly Smith, who’s reflected in a mirror, with engagement rings Friday at the Day’s store on Main Street in downtown Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — After decades of having its doors open for business seven days a week, Waterville-based Day’s Jewelers now will close on Sundays in a move meant to help retain employees.

Company officials said a survey conducted earlier of employees found that there was strong support for closing on Sundays. Another survey of customers showed similar support. The change takes effect this weekend.

“The biggest thing today with business, and in the landscape of hiring, is that people’s needs have changed, and employee retention is so important,” company President Joe Corey said Friday.

Day’s Jewelers is an employee-owned company with eight retail stores in Maine and New Hampshire, as well as online sales. The company was founded in Portland in 1914 and sold in 1988 to Kathy and Jeff Corey, Madawaska natives who then sold it last year to their 140 employees.

The idea of closing on Sundays first came up roughly three months ago, said Joe Corey, who is the son of Kathy and Jeff Corey. Day’s conducts annual interviews with workers to determine things like what’s important to them and what might tempt them to find work elsewhere.

One concern that arose was Day’s stores being open every day and the difficulty for employees to balance their professional and personal lives when working on weekends. While hours vary from store to store, some locations remain open until 7 p.m.


Corey said Sundays are quietest for business. But closing on that day could prove harmful to company finances. And as an employee-owned business, a drop in sales could affect employees’ long-term income.

Day’s Jewelers sales associate Scott Concannon assists Molly Smith with engagement rings Friday at the Day’s store on Main Street in downtown Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Nevertheless, the employee survey found 80% supported closing on Sundays. A survey of customers by email garnered more than 700 responses and it found that 93% favored the closure.

Corey had to coordinate with the landlords of the retail stores, as some of the leases required that the store be open on weekends. Day’s was able to secure waivers from each of the landlords.

Hedda Schupak, an industry analyst and contributing editor at The Centurion, a newsletter that covers the industry, said Friday that a change like this is possible partly because of the pandemic. Not only have in-person shopping patterns drastically changed in the last three years, people have become more comfortable buying big-ticket items like jewelry online, helping lessen the impact of closing stores, she said.

“Since COVID, so many shopping patterns have shifted and people have become comfortable shopping online for items they might not have been comfortable shopping for online before,” Schupak said. “It’s almost not necessary to be open on Sunday.”

It can be common for chain jewelers to be open seven days a week, but mostly because many of them are located in malls, where the lease may require the store to be open on weekends. For independent jewelers, it is more common to be closed Sunday or Monday, Schupak said.

But even five years ago, she would be encouraging those independent locations to be open for as many days as possible and for longer hours.

Although Day’s will reopen on Sundays during peak holiday shopping periods, Corey said employees are looking forward to the change.

“Our employees are super happy about it, they’re looking forward to the time,” he said. “For me, my employees being happy is probably my No. 1 priority.”

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.