Lethbridge store owner celebrating 40 years in business

After opening the shop at the age of 60, Catherine Tompkins of Tompkins Jewelers is marking her store’s 40th anniversary this year, while celebrating her 100th birthday.

Tompkins turned 100 on Friday and her jewelery store has been open since 1983.

“As far as Tompkins Jewelers are concerned, I put a lot of time and effort into it, you know,” she said. “Having a birthday is just another day, but having a business is something else.”

After raising a family of seven, Tompkins decided it was time for a change when he turned 60, opening his store on Seventh Street South.

“I was always interested in jewelry and the occasion popped up where I had the chance to buy some jewelry and start a business,” she said. “I’m so thankful for my family who run the business and who are here to celebrate with me.”

After opening in the El Rancho, Tompkins’s moved the store to its current location, and in 2001, she took a step back and her daughter Lisa took over.

Lisa says her mom is a real inspiration for her and many other women.

“My mom was really a pioneer back then because most jewelry stores were owned and operated by men and than they only had female managers and sales associates,” Lisa said.

“Not only did she start at 60, but being a female and doing it all on her own, she didn’t do it with my father, my father was doing something else at the time, so she’s such an inspiration.”

As they stand together in the showroom, Lisa says she would’ve never thought she’d be celebrating these two major milestones in the same year.

“I don’t know anybody who’s 100 years old and still living in her own home, high functioning – she’s not using a walker, she’s not on any medications,” she said. “So, in terms of what we can inspire to be as we age, she’s really it.”

Reflecting on the past, Tompkins says whether it’s in business or life, enjoy every moment.

“You have to be happy where you are and in what you’re doing and everything will work out,” Tompkins said. “If you’re not happy, you have real problems.”

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