Appelt's Diamonds has made a move to a fourth location in Morden in the 85 years it has been responding to the changing needs of the community.
"It was a very humble beginning," remarked Bert Appelt, who was born and raised in Morden, when looking back 85 years to when his dad opened his first store in Morden, together with a photography shop.
Appelt said his dad, Benjamin, a watch repairman, played an important role in the community.
"Everybody had a watch, and every year or so, it needed servicing. Way back in 1938 when he started, the price to recondition a watch was $0.50 and that took about an hour, or so, to to do, so, he made about $0.50 an hour."
Appelt noted he started to learn the business by going to the post office and doing minor things in the store. He went on to describe how he came to take over for his dad.
"I didn't want to take it over. I was going to university. My dad had a stroke. The stroke was such that he couldn't speak, and of course, he couldn't walk. So, I told my mother I would be involved in the store until we sold it. Well, here fifty some years later, we haven't sold it yet."
Bert is most proud of the work his son, Jeff, has done by expanding the product range, and focusing on gold, rings and diamonds and eliminating gifts and watches, except for the few they carry in the Morden store.
He shared what the store means to him after the fifty years he owned it, before giving his son Jeff the keys in 2013.
"This store is my baby." his voice cracked, "It almost brings tears to my eyes. We were going to renovate the other store, and then I had a dream about moving the store into a bank building. This happens to be a bank building."
Jeff carried on telling the story of how a dream changed their plans to renovate the former building.
"So, my dad comes to the office one day, and he says, 'I had a dream that we moved our Morden store into a bank building. Do you know of any banks that are for sale in Morden?' And we ended up buying the building that we're in right now, and it's actually a former Bank of Montreal building. His dream actually came true, and we acted on his dream. If it wasn't for my dad coming to me, and saying he had a dream, this would not have happened where it is right now, never."
As the third-generation owner, this week Appelt is welcoming people into the new location of Appelts Diamonds on the corner of 8th and Stephen Street.
"We made it state-of-the-art. I had someone just tell me very recently, 'Do you know what this building is something you would see in New York?' It was such a good compliment to hear that after we've done a lot of work to it. We got product lines, one of them is called 'Hearts on Fire.' It's the world's most perfectly cut diamond, you can find this jewelry in Dubai, New York, pick a country, London. You can now get that in Morden."
Other lines include Gabriel and Co. from New York, as well as other lines from places like L.A. and other global brands, noting there is high-end fashion and regular fashion.
He said the staff bring a smile to his face, they connect with clients in the right way and are able to help them find the product that matches their feelings.
One of the areas of focus is the bridal, engagement and anniversary lines.
"When you see people are proud of where they got their engagement ring, or their piece of jewelry, and they tell their kids, and then their kids tell their kids. And if you think of 85 years, there's a few generations that have done that."
Jeff continued with a story.
"One of the guys that works for us, he was living in Winnipeg, and he asked his dad where he should get his engagement ring. He said, 'Drive to Morden, and get your engagement ring there at Appelt's.' So, he came to Appelt's Diamonds, to get his engagement ring in Morden, because it was that tradition, that history, it was incredible."
In January, it will be 85 years the Appelt family has made memories and stories for generations to tell. Their own story continues as a couple of Jeff’s children are already involved in learning the business and carrying on the legacy of Benjamin Appelt.