Ti business marks 70th anniversary

TICONDEROGA - Rathbun Jewelers has been a mainstay of the Ticonderoga business district for decades. That's not about to change.

"We're going to be here as long as it's fun," owner Howard Rathbun Jr. said. "There are no plans to retire."

Rathbun Jewelers will mark its 70th anniversary Saturday, May 1. It's been at the same 110 Montcalm St. location the entire time.

The business was started in 1940 by Howard Rathbun Sr., who turned it over to his son in 1969.

"It doesn't seem like we've been at this 41 years," said the junior Rathbun, who operates the shop with his wife, Sue. "We have to acknowledge our customers and employees over the years. It hasn't always been easy, but we're still here."

It was tough for Howard Rathbun Sr. in those early years. World War II rationing limited the number of watches - the bread and butter of a jeweler at the time. Luckily, he soon met Dan Ballard, vice president of Bulova watches, who was visiting Ticonderoga. They struck up a friendship and Rathbun Jewelers was soon the place to buy Bulova watches. The business grew.

Howard Rathbun Jr. helped his father in the store, but never planned on taking over. He eventually moved to Albany, where he was a bank executive.

When his father decided to retire, Howard and Sue decided they would return to Ticonderoga and take over the business.

"I had always thought about coming back and taking over the store," Howard said. "When my dad decided to sell it, I stepped up."

They were scheduled to take over May 1, 1969, the store's 39th anniversary.

"I remember it was Jan. 29 at 5 a.m. when I got a call from my father," Rathbun said. "He said, 'You better get up here. Your store is on fire.'"

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