Jean and Bill Carter have spent 36 successful years working side-by-side at Bastion Jewellers. In retirement, they look forward to leisurely coffees on the porch, still side-by-side.

After 36 years downtown, Nanaimo jewellers say farewell

Husband and wife are grateful to the community for supporting them over so many years

When Jean and Bill Carter started Bastion Jewellers in 1985, many people said they’d have to be more cutthroat if they wanted the business to survive. The odds were against them, with seven or eight other jewellers already in downtown Nanaimo, but 36 years later, they’re the last jeweller standing.

“We’ve been very lucky, and all those naysayers of our youth were wrong. You can do well if you treat people fairly, if you treat customers the way you’d like to be treated,” Bill says. “They also said ‘You’ll never be able to work with your wife,’ and they were wrong too! We were able to make a life of it.”

Now Bill and Jean have decided to retire, and they have a simple message for everyone who’s supported Bastion Jewellers over the years: THANK YOU.

“We’re saying goodbye to a really great bunch of people who’ve trusted us with their needs. Our customers are like friends and family, and we feel very humbled and fortunate to be involved in their lives.”

The Carters have made and sold engagement rings to many lovebirds in Nanaimo, and they’ve been in business long enough to make engagement rings for the children of those lovebirds too. In recent years Bill’s even started seeing his own creations in local estate sales!

“We’ve been invited to so many weddings and important moments in people’s lives,” Bill says. “The jewellery store is a community hub like the barbershop in that way.”

Old world charm

The Carters started the store “on a shoestring” with just a handful of rings, but now have thousands of pieces to sell off before they close their doors. They are slowly shutting down the repair and custom creation side of the business, though Bill admits it’s hard to say no when people ask for his help.

“I’ve been quite reflective lately. You just get good after 40 years of doing something, and then you retire. In the beginning every single piece was a challenge. You had to hold your breath and hope the solder worked! Now the technology has improved — with my laser welder I can pinpoint weld right beside a precious stone.”

It was the pandemic that pushed the Carter’s to close the store — business has continued to be busy thanks to the community’s support, but Bill got a glimpse of a different life when the store temporarily shut down last spring.

“At first I didn’t know what to do — I tore up the yard and did all sorts of odd jobs around the house — but after a month I started to enjoy it,” Bill says. “My grandfather worked until the day he died, and I thought I might do the same. Now I want to sit on the porch and have a coffee with my wife, and not have to rush off to work.”

Follow Bastion Jewellers on Facebook for details about their store closing sale, or stop by the store in downtown Nanaimo at 143 Commercial St.

Local Business

 

The signs are up so it’s official: Jean and Bill Carter are retiring, and Bastion Jewellers is having a massive store-closing sale.

The signs are up so it’s official: Jean and Bill Carter are retiring, and Bastion Jewellers is having a massive store-closing sale.

Just Posted

Tim Wilkinson, who will attempt a double anvil triathlon on Vancouver Island on July 3, poses with his training partner, Shadow, who has been dragged up and down the Nanaimo Parkway many times. (Submitted)
Vancouver Island triathlete takes on ‘double anvil’ for charity

7.6km swim, 360km bike ride, and 84.4km run, all within 36 hours

From left: Thomas Kuecks, David Lane, John Ivison, Denis Berger, Rod Gray, and James Kuecks are Cabin Fever. Catch their performance on the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre website. (Ashley Foot photo)
A&E column: Music Festival winners, CVAC awards, and Cabin Fever

The latest from the Cowichan Valley arts and entertainment community

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley MLA Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

BC Green Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

The city-owned lot at 361 St. Julien St., which has been home to a temporary homeless site for more than a year, will be sold and plans are to build a three-storey mixed-use development there, Peter de Verteuil, Duncan CAO explained at a recent council meeting. (File photo)
New development planned for homeless site in Duncan

Lot on St. Julien Street would see three-storey building

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

Most Read