Meiers House of Clocks, opened by Swiss-born Hans Meier in 1953, will close its doors for the last time Thursday - a victim of the economy and changing consumer tastes.
"People have DVD players, microwave ovens, cellphones that tell them the time, said Hans P. Meier, son of founder Hans Meier. "People have gotten away from something they have to wind up every week. I cant force people to buy clocks."
A fixture on Sixth Avenue for decades, the store moved to 3730 S. M St. four years ago when rent became an issue.
The shop, which once featured hundreds of clocks, including elaborate grandfather clocks, has been struggling for years, Meier said, and the decision to close was made in mid-December.
"Business has slowly been going downhill for many years," Meier said. Our last phenomenal year was 2005. Every year since, as the economy went downhill, business was slower and slower.
"The last customer looking for grandfather clock was on Christmas, and the one before that was last spring. Before that was the previous spring.
Meiers father opened the wholesale business selling clocks and music boxes, and he delivered and picked up with his bicycle - he didnt own a car. Years into his business, Meier bought a '39 Chevy and began selling retail, as well.
From the time it opened, the shop did clock repairs, and business came from as far away as Alaska and Oregon.
"The repair side wasn't enough to keep us open," Meier said.
Meiers father fell five years ago and was unable to walk since, so the son stepped in. Talking to his father about closing the shop was emotional.
"Its not something I enjoy thinking about, closing the shop my father opened 60 years ago, Meier said. Theres no choice, and logic may prove that, but emotion overwhelms logic at times.
"For months, whenever we sold a clock it would help keep the doors open, but I couldnt replace inventory. "What clocks we have left, and the store fixtures, will be auctioned off sometime in February."
At one point in the '60s, Meier's House of Clocks had three locations - its Sixth Avenue store and shops in the Tacoma and Southcenter malls, and employed nearly 30 people. By 1998, the mall stores had closed and there were only six employees.
"Im 47 years old, and after (Thursday) Ill be looking for a job," Meier said.