State recognizes jewelry store's 90 years

LIVERMORE FALLS — Katy Botka-Quirrion has a legacy to carry on.

Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

Foss Jewelry store owner, Katy Botka-Quirrion, right, stands with state Rep. L. Gary Knight, R-Livermore Falls, outside the store that has been around for 90 years in Livermore Falls.

Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

Foss Jewelry store in Livermore Falls, a family-owned business, was recognized by the Maine Legislature with a Legislative Sentiment for doing business for 90 years in Livermore Falls. Fourth-generation owner, Katy Botka-Quirrion, left, store Manager Anne Winter, and state Rep. L. Gary Knight, R-Livermore Falls, show off the document inside the store Friday.

She is the new owner of Foss Jewelry, a business that has been in her family for 90 years.

The store has been a landmark on the corner of Main and Church streets since 1952. It was initially located where the Androscoggin Bank is on Main Street.

It has survived a roller-coaster economy for decades.

Botka-Quirrion is hoping to keep it going for years to come. But like many businesses, it is struggling to keep afloat in the recession.

The Maine Legislature recently recognized the store's longevity with a Legislative Sentiment.

It was presented to Botka-Quirrion on Sept. 11 during a Jay, Livermore, Livermore Falls Chamber of Commerce meeting.

The sentiment, sponsored by Rep. L. Gary Knight, R-Livermore Falls, refers to the store as a "diamond in the downtown business district of Livermore Falls" and "exemplary Maine business."

The store is the oldest family-owned business in the community.

"It's quite a milestone and a testament to the hard work of a single family," Knight said Friday.

The legacy started by Botka-Quirrion's late great-uncle, Lester Foss in 1919 was bought by her late grandfather, George "Henry" Botka, a watchmaker by trade. Botka and his wife, Elaine, Foss' niece, worked for Foss until Botka bought the store in 1959. The couple, who also ran a Foss Jewelry store in Winthrop for 19 years, sold the business to their son, the late Stephen Botka in 1999. The latter put longtime employee, Anne Winter in charge as manager.

Botka-Quirrion assumed ownership after her father died in February this year.

The mother of two children, Madeline Timberlake, 9, and Shawn Quirrion, 2, leaves the business in Winter's hands, just like her father did, popping in on occasion to check on things and to see how business is going.

"It's holding its own," Botka-Quirrion said.

"The economy is killing us," Winter added.

"You need local people to support local business," Botka-Quirrion said.

She is looking at ways to get younger generations in.

They now carry Maggie B, quilted cloth purses and Time & Again scented candles along with the jewelry, watches, fine china and array of other goods. They also do engraving and sell class rings representing the local school systems.

She's considering holding Christmas parties to see if that might boost business.

"I'm just trying to come up with ideas to get more people in. If we don't have stuff, we can order it," Botka-Quirrion said. "If the store pays for itself, we will stay. "

They plan to keep the store open through the holidays and then take stock to see if it will continue to stay open.

"I don't want to close," she said.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

I've stopped in on many

I've stopped in on many occasions it's such a nice store

I truly hope they can survive these horrible economic times we find ourselves in

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