By Taylor Clyne
24 January, 2018
THIS week owners of the North-East Jewellers in Scottsdale, Norma and Lindsay Petterwood celebrated 45 years in business, a milestone that few can beat.
To celebrate the memorable moments and thank their loyal customers, the couple hosted a birthday party instore on Monday where more than 120 people attended to commemorate their success.
Norma and Lindsay both grew up in Ringarooma and once they were married, the pair moved into the house that used to be next to the Jewellers building on King Street.
“We lived there for two years before we purchased our own home. During that time I used to work as a casual at the Jewellers when Dudley and Betty Last owned it,” Norma said.
It was January of 1973 when Norma and Lindsay purchased it from the Lasts with just $10,000 worth of stock and a new beginning.
“I had a bit of bookkeeping knowledge, but I never thought I would buy my own business,” Norma explained.
The original shop consisted of giftware, jewellery, silk and textiles, of which Norma said she continued with the silk and textiles for a further five years before they phased out.
“During that time, we placed an archway into the old hairdressing salon that used to adjoin the back of the building and doubled the size of the shop.”
In 1993 the couple purchased the building that the business was housed inside and doubled the shop size once again.
“We fashioned the new part of the shop on the wholesale businesses in Melbourne so that areas were sectioned off to display different ranges.
“At that stage we went into lamps, prints and interior design.”
During the time that they opened the new extension in Scottsdale, the pair also expanded their business to open a sister store in St Helens.
“That was run by my daughter Karen, in conjunction with the North-East Jewellers.
“We had that store for ten years before she moved interstate.”
For decades Norma has filled her stores with thousands of items, both fashionable and functional.
She remembers, in the beginning, travelling to Launceston and viewing wholesale travellers’ stalls with buying stock.
“We then used to go to Melbourne and spend time visiting up to 14 warehouses in one day.
“When the big trade fairs opened in Melbourne we started visiting those for a couple of days every six months, which allowed us to see a larger product number,” Norma said.
Norma and Lindsay have also been overseas buying diamonds in Antwerp twice, something they described as a ‘wonderful experience’.
When asked what the secret to a long business career, Norma said simply ‘having really good employees and loyal customers’.
I’m sure there was a little bit of hard work thrown into the mix too.
“Over the years I’ve had great employees, to start off it was only myself and Del Watson, I worked with her for 10 years.
“Now I’m lucky to have Laura Brown-Fleming, Dinah Hall, Jodie Crack and Beth Thomas. Their support is excellent.”
And asking of husband Lindsay’s involvement in the day to day life inside the shop, Norma laughs saying,
“Lindsay used to come and work at Christmas every year. He entertained the customers so much that they forgot what they came for!”
The couple, who have been married for 54 years, don’t have any immediate plans of retiring.
“I enjoy doing what I do, we might just add a bit of extra recreational time,” Norma said.