OTTAWA — These are some of the happiest days Charles and Nancy Wannemacher have had in the jewelry business.
They’ve enjoyed catching up with old friends and acquaintances who’ve stopped into their store on Ottawa’s Main Street where they’ve been for 34 years. More people stopped by once word started to spread they were planning to retire and shut down their store at the end of the year.
“We do get so many people who’ve come in to say hello and that they’ll miss us,” Nancy Wannemacher said. “We’ve always tried to be friendly, and if they like us, they’ll keep coming back.”
In 2021, though, people in the area won’t be able to go to a member of the Wannemacher family for their jewelry needs. It’s a history that goes back 124 years to Charles’ grandfather, Charles “C.B.” Wannemacher, who started making watches in 1896 and opened the original Wannemacher Jewelers in Ottoville in 1915.
Over the years, Charles’ parents, Robert and Katherine, joined the business, eventually opening locations in Delphos and Spencerville until Robert died and Katherine retired in the early 1980s.
That could’ve been the end of the line then. Charles Wannemacher had been working at General Motors in Defiance and shied away from his family’s craft. Still, it called him back, and in 1986 he and his sister, Gail, opened the store in downtown Ottawa. She retired in 1999, leaving the business for Charles, 72, and Nancy, 71, to run.
Now it’s time for the two of them to step away from the jewelry business. They have a daughter in North Carolina, and they’re looking forward to traveling and playing some golf.
They haven’t decided what to do with the Main Street property they own after retiring yet, noting it takes time to liquidate a jewelry store. The building’s next venture will come soon enough.
For now, they’re focusing on plenty of happy memories of these customers who became their friends.
“We do hope they’ll remember how happy they were to shop here,” Charles Wannemacher said. “There are hundreds of nice memories of the customers we’ve had here over the years.”