Welland then and now: the city’s oldest jewelry store continues to operate

As a company, AP Brown Jewelers Ltd. is another historic Welland business with an impressive pedigree and a good part of the town’s history and growth.

Seeing the depth of this pedigree and hearing its impact on people is always an awesome experience.

Company founder Albert Percival Brown, better known as the AP, or Percy among his friends and associates, was born in 1876 near Owen Sound. As a young man, he set himself the sole goal of becoming a jeweler, so he apprenticed at the DC Taylor watch company in Owen Sound in 1896. Over the next 14 years he gained valuable experience in the business. while learning the intricacies of watchmaking, jewelry making and engraving. After successfully completing his term, he had the choice of establishing his business in Calgary or Welland. In May 1910 he chose to travel to Calgary, but stayed there only until October, returned home briefly, and then decided to pursue his opportunities in the Pink City.

Once arrived and installed, the same year, AP also bought out the store from the late Jonas House, a curious jewelry and optical store in the Goodwin building between East Main and Cross streets, which also sold eyewear and sunglasses. musical instruments in addition to the regular repertoire. From there, Brown would begin his career in Welland. In addition to selling jewelry, he was also a master technician watchmaker, hand engraver, and optician and had been appointed a certified railway watch inspector for the New York Central, Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Railway, and Canadian National. In 1922, he presented the first AP Brown Swiss watches to his customers. Over the next 50 years, it would build on what would become a long-standing family business.

From its original address in Cross Street, the store moved to the East Main for a while. In 1934 the location of the store changed again, at 47 West Main St., and in 1938 Brown was joined by his son Doug. After leaving for several years of training and service from 1940 to 1944, Doug returned and the company was renamed AP Brown Jewelers and Son. Despite the additional aids, AP Brown would studiously continue to work in the store until his death in 1960 at the age of 84. The family business passed to his son, who bought a building at 82 West Main St. which the store still occupies. today.

In 1962 the company was registered as AP Brown Jewelers Ltd., a joint stock company.

Since his birth in 1920, Doug Brown has grown up in his father’s store, washing windows, fixing clocks and shopping, and would continue to follow in his father’s footsteps by putting his energy and dedication into the business and the community he served. Because his father was a member of the Welland Club and Central United Church, Doug was a member of the Rotary Club, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, and the city council. In 1959, he was elected alderman for two years.

Doug running the business in the same family tradition, AP Brown Jewelers continued to stock watches, rings, silverware and diamonds, including pieces such as the Orange Blossom and Bluebird diamond rings – names that carried great class and significance and served as a source of pride.

In 1975, Allen, Doug’s son, opened the AP Brown Awards trophy and the print shop next door, which lasted 45 years. After 74 successful years, Doug retired in 2004. The boutique is now run by the third generation of the family to Alison Brown, Doug’s daughter, celebrating 111 years in business.

Since its inception, the store has gone through two world wars, the Spanish Flu and the Great Depression, but has continued despite the difficulties, supported by the efforts and dedication of its owners and customers who have come to know this place as one. permanent facilities in Welland. Even now, the fourth and fifth generations of families who have visited Brown’s are still coming to share their stories of their involvement in the store and what it means to them. With such support, it’s no surprise that AP Brown Jewelers continues to tick.

Information is provided courtesy of the Welland Museum, Welland Public Library and the Brown Family.

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