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70 years of community business celebrated

Alex Doty • Nov 10, 2017 at 11:00 AM

Mayor Geri McCaleb was joined by other city representatives Thursday afternoon during a special recognition for Doris Pitcher, who owned the recently closed Grand Haven Jewelry store for the past seven decades.

The event follows City Council’s formal recognition of the Pitcher family for “a tremendous contribution to a special community” during their 70 years of business in Grand Haven. The recognition was done with a special proclamation approved by council Monday night.

“It’s a very wonderful, unexpected surprise to me,” Pitcher said following Thursday’s event.

Pitcher said she is thankful for everyone who came out and took the time to celebrate the event with her at Village at the Pines — a crowd that in addition to city officials included her family, friends and neighbors. 

McCaleb said she was honored to recognize Pitcher for her years of commitment to the community through her downtown business. She noted that the jewelry store played a big part in the lives of many in and around Grand Haven.

“You think about how many engagements were solidified right there through something bought at Pitcher’s (store),” McCaleb said. “And the other part of this is the history that’s attached to this to have a store in the family for 70 years. They had employees working 20-30 years for the same family.”

McCaleb also commended the family’s ability to keep up with the changing retail landscape over the years.

“You have to be flexible and you have to be creative,” the mayor said. “It’s a real testimony to the family to be able to do that, to stay with those changes, and to have customers and employees that are faithful and loyal for that amount of time. It speaks a lot to the family and it speaks a lot to the business.”

Doris and her husband, Gerald, opened the shop on Washington Avenue in 1947. Doris did bookkeeping for more than 50 years, and the couple’s children — Dan, Linda Lowe, Steve, Karen Bol and Mike — worked there for various times over the life of the business.

Gerald also served as president of The People's Bank Board of Directors, was president of the Jewelers of America, and also served on the board of the Grand Haven Downtown Development Authority. The family also opened G. Benjamin Jewelry in the former piano factory and Greenville Jewelry.

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