D. Cole Jewelers Is The Second Oldest Business In Portland’s Old Port!
June 21,2021 (Portland, ME) In these trying economic times for a lot of small retailers, it’s refreshing to see that some family-owned businesses continue to survive and even thrive, passing down the business from one generation to the next. Such is the case with D. Cole Jewelers on 10 Exchange Street in Portland’s Old Port.
Dean and Denise Cole got their start doing craft shows around New England in 1977, going under the name of The Golden Unicorn. With a growing customer base and rave reviews on Dean’s hand crafted, custom jewelry, the couple decided to open a retail store in the up-and-coming Old Port, in a small store at the back of the 10 Exchange Street mall. The next three years proved that what now was D. Cole Jewelers was a success. So much that in 1984, they were able to move to front of 10 Exchange as the primary showcase retailer.
Family. It’s important to the Coles and from the beginning, Denise’s brother Jeff has been the other custom design jeweler, starting as an apprentice at age 16 under the supervision of his brother-in-law Dean. As the Cole family grew, in 2005 their son Ryan came on full time as the third family member on the jeweler’s bench, after working part-time throughout high school and college. Their daughter Emily worked the front of the store alongside her mother wrapping gift orders and became fulltime in 2010.. Not only that, but 15 years ago Ryan’s wife Lindsey took over the bookkeeping duties from Denise’s mother, who even though she retired at 72 she continued doing appraisals up until age 87 last year.
The Cole’s have seen a lot of changes in the Old Port in the last 40 years as businesses come and go. But it’s always been their loyal customers that make all the hard work (and fun!) worthwhile. Couples that got their engagement and wedding rings have come back for mother’s rings, anniversary presents and then their children have come in for their wedding rings. There are so many stories to share and no matter how busy it is, the Coles always have time to stop and talk with people who are more like friends than customers.
And as Dean and Denise celebrate 40 years in business, they are in the process of passing the business down to Ryan and Emily who already are a major part of the success – and by continuing the Cole tradition, be assured that the next 40 years will be just as bright.