When the first day of January 2017 popped up I made a resolution. I was done complaining about the town of Carleton Place and the lack of vision due to complete and utter frustration. So today, I write not about town concerns– but more about losing a business that has been an institution in Carleton Place for 119 years– Dacks Jewellers.
Yesterday, January 18 at
Shocked generations of customers began commenting on their Facebook page. Some offered congratulatory notes on their pending retirement not knowing what the real reason was. If you haven’t been downtown in awhile or visited Dacks you know that things are not all they should or could be on the Carleton Place Main Street. When Dack’s closes in April the town of Carleton Place is losing a historic business that sold Birthday and Christmas gifts for over a century.
Dad Keith and their late son Paul Dack who is greatly missed-Photo-Used with permission from the Dack Family
As daughter Jane Dack McLaughlin said yesterday:
“We didn’t want to close our doors, but sadly there is no traffic whatsoever left on our Main Street. We have been trying for several years to hold on– but– just one more business to go. Our downtown is in poor shape… but our town representatives, council and mayor have chosen not to listen to us. Believe me this was not our decision to close, but the people stopped coming. We held on as long as we could. The downtown is in a sad state.”
It was no doubt a difficult decision for the Dack family, and the founding family member James Almond Dack would be scratching his head right now wondering what happened. When James purchased his own watch-making business on Bridge Street in Carleton Place and opened the doors on July the 1st, 1898 business was brisk and less challenging than it is now.
Every day was a celebration and when he married Catherine Agnes Steel on the 7th of February, 1900, in Almonte, Ontario. They chose to enter what was called the family business, as it was the norm, and not the exception. That was always the intention- to carry on the family business, not realizing down the road that brick and mortar stores would face new challenges and struggles. Anyone who has shopped in Dacks this year would know the real reason behind their closing because the family has been quite honest about it.
Photo- Used with permission from the Dack Family
Dacks has always been the heart and the soul of our community, and not only did they run an upstanding long time business they also had the honour of looking after the old Post Office Clock. Son Howard Dack, and his father James H. Dack were given custody of keeping the clock running and in good repair in 1913. Unfortunately, after the building went into private hands, this beautiful clock fell into disrepair and no longer runs.
No matter which family member became associated with the Dack Jewellery store, the work ethics remained the same. There is no doubt that their guarantee of quality came with product and service for their customers. In 1898 they advertised that “they had the latest tools and would undertake any repair job in the best possible manner”. They cordially invited the people of Carleton Place and vicinity to share in their patronage. Isn’t it nice that in 119 years something hasn’t changed?
Do we really have to lose a business that provided incredible personal customer service and knew your children’s names? It has become very frustrating to see places like Perth and Almonte have thriving main street businesses while watching Carleton Place’s gradually fading into the sunset.
They say that you don’t realize what you have until you lose it. In all honesty I never thought that Dacks would close– something that was such a big part of Carleton Place’s daily life for 119 years is now going to become history. No matter how much we tell the Dack family that we appreciate them it will never be enough for what they have given this town. Life doesn’t stop after a business closes down- but it will go on a lot differently. Will this loss finally tell us the worth of things, especially what is happening to our town?
Thank you to the Dack family for what you have given us through the years– I know this isn’t an easy decision- but may it give you some sort of peace to know how much we will miss you–and seeing the Dack name on the front door.
115 Bridge Street, Carleton Place Ontario K7c 2V4
“It’s sad when the longest running business in town is forced to close because the downtown has so little traffic for its retail store fronts. This should make folks angry too and hopefully will serve as a wake up call before we lose even more of the downtown core to “retirement”.”– Steve Yaver
“This is sad Linda. Thank you for informing us. I remember as a kid growing up that Keiths dad and Ross used to always walk past our house, heading to the store. LOL That’s likely 50 years ago now. Betty and Keith are two of the nicest and friendliest people in CP. Not just do you lose the business but you lose 2 more mainstays that have always promoted the town in the best possible way. I think in most cases, times do change. I think in this case, that they have gone through the worst of worst times, and survived after 119 years. It says something when they have reached the point that they have, when you think back, that depression, war, inflation and interest rates, were all something they have had to deal with. Now it has become insurmountable, because of all things, no one shopping on main street. Honestly, Keith and Betty, you are two of the greatest. Not just me, but the whole town of Carleton Place, will miss you.”–Tom Edwards
Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.
Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun