Jason and Jennifer Casey are linking their past with the future.

The pair assumed ownership of Cooley’s Jewelry, or George W. Cooley & Son Jewelers, at 77 Main St. in Sidney in late 2021. Jason, 45, is the seventh family proprietor to own Cooley’s since his great-great-grandfather started it in 1888. The Caseys purchased the building and business from Jason’s uncle, Richard Cooley.

“After high school, I left the area and joined the Marine Corps,” Jason, a Bainbridge native, said.

“Then I worked for the railroad for the next 10 years and my uncle, who owned this shop prior, was deciding he was done with it — this was during COVID — and he was ready to retire. At that point, we started discussing options and called my uncle … and came to a deal to turn it over to the next generation.”

The Caseys, Jason said, made the purchase in November 2021 and opened June 15, to coincide with Sidney’s semi-quincentennial. Though the business has seen several transitions in its many years, the Caseys said, they offer the services for which Cooley’s became known.

“The one thing we’ve consistently heard is, even though this has always been a jewelry store, people used to bring everything to get fixed — old baby carriages, toasters,” Jennifer said. “It just became a thing that the Cooleys were known to be able to fix everything.”

“The business originally started … in Cooperstown,” Jason said. “It went from a tailor shop … then at some point changed to a jewelry business. and Richard Cooley opened his shop in Morris, which was a jewelry store — that was generation No. 2 — so they were jewelers, but also optometrists at the time.

“We have fine jewelry, jewelry repair, watches, watch batteries and we do precious metal recycling — we’ll buy gold, silver, platinum, any precious metal,” he continued. “My background is in welding, so this is very similar, just on a very smaller scale. and (Jennifer) is a jeweler, also, and she does more of the sales stuff and I do most of the repairs.”

Customers, Jason said, appreciate the watch-related services.

“Watch batteries seem to be the thing,” he said. “It’s such a small, insignificant thing in life, but without that service, people are driving an hour for a three-dollar watch battery.”

And customers, Jason said, represent a mix.

“I’m seeing mostly locals, but we are getting a lot of newer residents and a lot of people that moved up from the city,” he said. “I would say it’s adults to older (people), but we are working on gifts for the younger crowd. But people are very happy to have us back open; it’s been very positive.

“A lot of people … have used our family’s business their entire lives,” Jason continued. “A lot of people brought their sentimental stuff to my grandfather. He built a lot of rings and people will come in and say, ‘Can you size this ring for me?’ so that’s kind of neat.”

The Caseys said they hope to broaden their demographics, while focusing on the holiday shopping season.

“We’re trying to appeal to all of Sidney and bring back that hometown shopping experience,” Jennifer said. “We’ve talked about adding more inventory, but we want to get through this year and see where we’re at.”

“We want to prepare for Christmas shopping,” Jason said. “That’s the only thing on our radar.”

The Caseys said, even as they look ahead, they plan to preserve the past. “(We do it) because it continues on, for the kids and that type of thing,” Jennifer said.

“It’s family tradition and we’re both sentimental,” Jason said. “To have a business that’s roughly 135 years old is pretty rare. We’re right there with Tiffany’s, in terms of how long we’ve been open.”

Cooley’s is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and 10 to noon on Saturday. Hours will increase, Jason said, as the holidays approach, and Cooley’s is open by appointment.

For more information, call 607-563-1311, email georgewcooley@gmail.com or find “George W. Cooley and Son Jewelers” on Facebook.

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