Last downtown Oregon City jeweler to close doors
Main Street Oregon City had three jewelry shops throughout the 1960s. As of the beginning of 2019 with the closure of Ruud's Jewelers, that number will be zero.
Store owner Gary Ruud said the jewelry business has changed drastically since his father opened his own shop in 1967. At that time, Ruud's was the official watch repairer for Union Pacific Railroad employees.
Ruud said Union Pacific's business was replaced by satellite communications and a centralized traffic control. Meanwhile, more and more regular customers began buying jewelry where they bought their groceries, rather than making a trip downtown.
For 51 years, Ruud and his father have occupied a unique storefront downtown — the small shop faces both an alley and Main Street at a diagonal. With the store's location, it's appropriate for it to contain a "half" in its address at 812 1/2 Main St.
Ruud's has its origins in the closure of a large jewelry store, Burmeister and Andresen, in 1967, leaving Ruud's parents, Nils and Jo, with a decision to make about Nils' employment. Ruud said his parents took a chance with the new downtown Oregon City jewelry store by borrowing money to open it.
Ruud went to work for his father after graduating from high school, where he met his future wife, Reneé Wedding. Their daughters, Michelle (born in 1975) and Katie Jo (born in 1980), both have worked for Ruud's, learning the jewelers' trade from their grandfather who retired in 1999.
For those seeking personalized jewelry purchases and repair, Ruud recommends Nisbett Jewelers, 10608 S.E. 42nd Ave., Milwaukie, as the last independent store in the area.