Sunday, December 17, 2017
News Roundup

Martin's Jewelers owners say it's time to close the book

Column by Scott Purks

BRANDON — It is time, Joe Martin said.

Time to close Martin's Jewelers after 62 years.

Time to move on.

What will Martin miss most?

"Everything," he said, sitting in his shop on Oakfield Drive, surrounded by jewelry, employees and customers. "Everything."

He will miss driving up in the morning, sliding the key in the lock, turning the lock, flipping on the lights, checking his appointments, greeting his 12 employees, cleaning diamonds, watches, creating, repairing, appraising engagement rings, earrings, necklaces, and, most of all, working with his customers, who are, "an extended family."

It's in Martin's blood and the blood runs deep.

At 73, Martin looks back and feels good with the memories, from the beginning to the end.

He likes to tell the story, beginning with his father, Freddie Martin, a disabled Army veteran who started repairing watches out of his home on Parsons Avenue in 1954. Freddie was good at it and his little home business grew as Brandon grew.

And grew.

A few years passed and Freddie asked his son, Joe, a plumber at the time, to help with the business. Joe didn't want to at first, but then, "My relationship with the customers made me want to stay."

So he did.

In 1969, when Freddie Martin died, Joe took it over with his wife Brenda.

Since then the store has moved seven times, but the heart and soul of it has held tight together.

"Brenda and I have lived here in this store," Martin said. "We have a kitchen in the back so we wouldn't have to go out for lunches. We worked an average of 50 to 60 hours a week and then during the holidays 70 to 80 hours a week. We have spent most of our lives (almost all of their 52 years of marriage) in the store and we have loved it.

"But now … it's time."

There have been discussions about someone else taking over because business is better than ever. But in the end the Martins decided it was best to shut the doors, setting the last day for sometime in mid January.

For Ricky Williams, who has been coming to Martins Jewelers for 45 years, it's a sad day indeed.

"I don't know a good (gem stone) from a bad one, but I never worried about that because I trusted Joe," said Williams, who was in the packed store Tuesday seeking something nice for his wife. "Now I'm going to ask Joe where I should go because I don't know where else to go. This has always been it for me, and I think that's true for a lot of people."

It is true.

Some customers have traveled hundreds of miles to Martin's because, as Williams said, "People trust Joe."

But, again, Joe said, "It is time."

"It is not an easy thing to walk away from," Joe said. "I don't want to, but then I'm also excited about having some new experiences. I want to travel with Brenda. I want to do some other things."

Will he dabble with jewelry and watches in any regard?

"No I won't," Joe said. "I've done everything I could do in this business. There is nothing left for me to do. I have no doubt. I'm ready.

"It is time."

Contact Scott Purks at [email protected]


Wesley Chapel woman, 28, dies after crashing motorcycle

LUTZ — A 28-year-old motorcyclist died Sunday after she crashed near Lutz Lake Fern Road and Apian Way, Hillsborough deputies reported.Erica Kristen Rodriguez of Wesley Chapel was riding a Kawasaki motorcycle with a small group of motorcyclists eastb...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Why Jon Gruden was the best mistake the Bucs ever made

Why Jon Gruden was the best mistake the Bucs ever made

Warren Sapp pointed to the sky. And then he dropped Kurt Warner to the ground.The Bucs had just intercepted Warner for the fourth time. Sapp’s block cleared the way for Derrick Brooks to cross the goal line and clinch the win.Before Tampa Bay p...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Florida mayor resigns after arrest for using dead peoples’ disabled parking permits

Florida mayor resigns after arrest for using dead peoples’ disabled parking permits

DAVENPORT, Fla. (AP) — The mayor of a small Florida town arrested for using dead peoples’ disabled parking permits to park at city hall has resigned.The Bradenton Herald reports that Teresa Bradley resigned and was given six-months of probation as pa...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Woman, 24, hit by Land Rover, in critical condition

LARGO — A 24-year-old woman is in critical condition after she was struck by a vehicle Saturday night, police said.Khadijah Wood was walking through the parking lot of the Sandy Lane Apartment Homes on Belcher Road about 7:30 p.m.At the same time, Ju...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Warm, sunny Sunday in Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — It’s another bright, sunny day in Tampa Bay. 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-area radar 10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around the Tampa Bay areaHigh temperatures should reach about 80 d...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Murder suspect is on the run after fatally shooting a father, cops say

Murder suspect is on the run after fatally shooting a father, cops say

A first-degree murder suspect remains at large almost a week after the fatal shooting of a Winter Haven father.The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says Johnny Ray Owsley’s murder of 35-year-old Adam Thrower, called "Cook" by friends, involved Owsley’s e...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

DENVER — The Lightning left for Las Vegas Saturday for the first of four nights in Sin City.But Tampa Bay’s first regret came before it boarded the charter flight; the Lighting lamented making Saturday’s 6-5 win over the Avalanche much more thrilling...
Published: 12/16/17
Updated: 12/17/17

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David out for Monday’s game vs. Falcons

TAMPA — As if containing All-Pro Julio Jones and the Falcons offense isn’t challenging enough, the Bucs will try to do so Monday night without perhaps their top defensive players, tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David.On Saturday, Bucs coa...
Published: 12/16/17
Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

WASHINGTON — Closing in on the first major legislative achievement of his term, President Donald Trump on Saturday defended the Republican tax cut as a good deal for the middle class while boldly suggesting it could lead to explosive economic growth....
Published: 12/16/17
Aquarium reopens to divers

Aquarium reopens to divers

Florida Keys News BureauVisitors to Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters dive with among indigenous Keys fish Friday in Marathon. The attraction reopened Friday after closing just before Hurricane Irma hit the Florida Keys on Sept. 10. Although tourism f...
Published: 12/16/17