Veteran jeweler and watchmaker Frank H. Stark, 75, is one of the few businessmen still working on Bountiful's Main Street who started business there in the 1940s.
Stark, a Salt Lake native, learned watchmaking from a brother-in-law in the early 1930s, worked 10 years for the John Douglas Jewelry & Loan Co. in Salt Lake, and opened his own jewelry store in a corner of the J.C. Penney store at 145 S. Main, Bountiful, in 1945.After 18 years in the Penney store, Stark started his own store at 197 S. Main in 1963 and, he says, "business has gotten better every year.
"The jewelry business has been kind to me and, from what I've seen, is a good business for young people to get into. People have liked jewelry since time began, and I expect they always will."
Stark's son, Spencer, who has worked for his father since 1965, now manages Stark Jewelry the oldest jewelry store in Bountiful but Stark comes to work practically every day for several hours to wait on customers, do the bookkeeping and repair watches.
"Times have changed. Most watches are quartz- and battery-operated. Even the most expensive models. When I started, and for decades, watches were wind-up, spring-driven jeweled timepieces. Many had intricate, tiny gears, parts and pins. We reset jewels, put in balance staffs and often manufactured parts to replace those we couldn't find."
Does he expect to retire? "Well, I don't know. I've got a habit of coming to work that is hard to break," he said, smiling.