In a couple of hours Howard and Sue were in Ticonderoga to see the damaged store. Most of the fire damage was in the rear of the building, but there was smoke and water damage throughout. Much of the inventory was destroyed.
"We never shut the doors," Howard said. "We were able to stay open, more or less, and within three to four weeks we were back to normal."
And Howard and Sue were full-time Ticonderoga residents.
"We called it trial by fire," Sue recalled. "It wasn't the way we planned it, but everything has worked out."
Rathbun Jewelers looks much the same as it did 70 years ago.
"We like all the old cabinets and counters," Sue said. "You couldn't buy them today."
Rathbun Jewelers has changed, though.
"We've re-invented ourselves over and over as the community has changed," Sue said. "One thing that hasn't changed, though, is customer service. It's still No. 1."
There will not be a third generation of Rathbuns operating the store in the future. The couple has two sons, living in Arizona and Oregon, who have no interest in the jewelry business.
"It would be nice for someone to continue the store someday, but for now we'll just keep on going," Howard said.
To celebrate the 70th anniversary Rathbun Jewelers will be open May 1 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. serving mimosas and refreshments to customers. People can register to win a grand prize and there will be gift drawings every hour.
There will also be sales on all sterling, gold and estate jewelry as well as other items. The anniversary sale will continue through the month.