A promotion to “owner” has a nice ring to it.
Erin Mason, a gemologist and jeweler at Martin’s Jewelers, will become the fourth-generation owner of the 125-year-old store this summer.
According to an announcement from Martin’s, Mason will take the helm of the family business starting July 1.
Mason is the great-granddaughter of store founder Charles D. Martin, who founded the retail shop in 1889, the same year Washington became a state. Martin’s 1888 diploma from watchmaking school is still displayed in the store.
The business was passed down to his son, Port C. Martin, who later passed it on to his daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Paul Eagon. Paul’s brother, Rich Eagon, joined in 1983.
Rich Eagon will retire, and Paul will stay to help with the transition, though he said it won’t require much on his part.
“Erin won’t need much help because she has been involved in the store since she was a teenager, and jewelry is her passion,” he said in a prepared statement.
A 2000 graduate of Walla Walla High School, Mason earned her bachelor’s in marketing and sales from Pacific Lutheran University. She received her Graduate Gemologist title from the Gemological Institute of America, in residency at the headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif.
Martin’s is the second oldest jewelry store under the continuous ownership of the founding family in Washington. The business first operated at 10 W. Main St. before moving to 119 W. Main, and then to its current spot at 18 E. Main St., where it’s been since 1949.
Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at 509-526-8321, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter.