Michael Dostie looks over a jewelry case at J. Dostie Jewelers on Lisbon Street in downtown Lewiston, which he has announced will be moved to Yarmouth in February 2024. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — This will be the final holiday season in downtown Lewiston for J. Dostie Jewelers.

Owner and third generation craftsman Michael Dostie has decided to move the business to Yarmouth in February 2024, with plans to open the new location in April.

The business has been an anchor of the city’s downtown, located at the corner of Main and Lisbon streets, for six decades. In all, J. Dostie Jewelers has been in business in the city for 76 years.

The reasons are varied, but Dostie said the decision to move came in March or April of 2022. “We saw some pretty significant changes in the city just previous to that. And, you know, that was when we kind of saw the future for Lewiston suddenly wasn’t as clear.”

While Dostie has had more than his fair share of ups and downs with the city over the years, he said the primary reason for moving is because the majority of the jeweler’s business does not come from Lewiston, but from Augusta, the Western Maine region and the south of the state.

“We have a client base that is regional,” he explained Wednesday. “We’re no longer just your neighborhood jeweler. I mean, we are, but a majority of our clients that come to us are coming from other communities,” as much as 75% of his business, he added.


The reasons he is moving the store, Dostie wanted to make clear, were not affected by the recent mass shooting in Lewiston.

“The process of J. Dostie Jewelers relocating has been underway for well over a year,” he said. “The horrific tragedy that occurred on Oct. 25 had no bearing on this decision, nor should it be a reflection on the city of Lewiston. Our hearts break for those lost and their loved ones, and this release was postponed out of respect for those in mourning.”

His reasons for moving are more than just economic, Dostie said. He saw an evolution and erosion of support from the city to the point where he felt “that a sustainable future here is no longer certain,” he said.

“I’ve seen recessions in the ’80s and ’90s but the recession in 2008 pushed us to the brink,” Dostie’s father, Daniel, wrote in a news statement announcing the move. “Difficult decisions and sacrifices had to be made then, and here we are 15 years later with things changing once again. This is the best way for my dad’s, my own, and now my son’s company to be able to serve our friends and customers for the next 20 years.”

A historic picture of the building where J. Dostie Jewelers is located is on display at the Lisbon Street business in downtown Lewiston. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Jules Dostie founded J. Dostie Jewelers in 1947, after serving in the U.S. Army, where he was trained as a watchmaker, during a time when accurate watches were crucial to the war effort in the pre-digital days for navigation, flying and for infantry troops.

After the war, he moved back to Lewiston and started the business with a $400 loan, built up the business over the years and moved into the current location at 4 Lisbon St. in 1964 from a smaller location farther down Lisbon Street.


Daniel Dostie ran the jeweler from the late 1970s until he brought his son, Michael, into the business in the early 2000s. Michael Dostie returned to Lewiston in 2006 and said he decided to keep the business in Lewiston despite his father encouraging him to consider moving back then.

“I’ve been involved with the city now for, I mean proactively outside of this business, for over 15 years,” Dostie said. “At 41 years old, that means a third of my life has been dedicated to making things better here in downtown. Better for businesses, better for our patrons, people wanting to come and spend time.”

He was a founding member and board chair of Art Walk Lewiston Auburn, the founder and board chair of the Downtown Lewiston Association, he was on the board of directors of the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and was on the board of the Young Professionals of the Lewiston Auburn Area, now Uplift L/A.

Michael Dostie stands among the jewelry cases at J. Dostie Jewelers, which he says will be relocated from Lisbon Street in downtown Lewiston to a new Yarmouth location early next year. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

“Things are difficult. Things are challenging,” Dostie answered when asked how he sees the business environment in downtown Lewiston today.

Michael Dostie said his desire to stay in Lewiston all this time stemmed from a cornerstone of his grandfather’s legacy — customer service and his desire to stay in the downtown area and make it a place people would want to come and stroll around and shop and dine.

His grandfather taught him that the jewelry store experience started when you walked in the door. What did you hear, what’s the feeling, the lighting?

“Like when you purchase something, like the packaging, the box itself. And then the bag that you put it in, like the tissue paper — all of this was important because for him, the jewelry experience was both for the purchaser and the recipient,” Dostie explained.

He said that sense of customer service remains at the core of J. Dostie Jewelers, explaining it this way from a customer’s perspective: “This was something that your grandfather sold my mother and now it’s mine and I want to restore it or I want to make it into something new.”

Michael Dostie said his family will continue to live in the area and that he hasn’t decided what will happen with the building, known as Central Block. It was built around 1871.

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