Keeping the Legacy Alive

It’s hard enough running a retail business. But when you combine overseeing a family business with a full-time job, taking care of a wife who was severely injured in a car accident and then overcoming a fire, it can become an incredible task.

Those are the challenges faced by Norm McQueen, who recently looked back at his family’s founding of Pinetree Jewelers now run by his son, Scott.

According to Norm, 84, and Scott, 47, Pinetree Jewelers originally was a women’s clothing store – Village Fashions of Parker – opened by Norm’s wife, Phyllis, in about 1974 at Parker Road and Plaza Drive. Shortly thereafter, it combined with the gift shop next door – Pinetree Gifts.

An engineer for Otis-TTD, Norm periodically helped out at the store and introduced jewelry in 1977. In January 1980, Norm says, the store burned to the ground – right about the time Phyllis was released from the hospital following a bad car accident.

The family rebuilt the jewelry store, eliminating the women’s clothing and gift items, behind what was then Hill’s Country Market, now Vitamin Cottage.

Although Phyllis wasn’t able to do much after accident, she came to work everyday and socialized with other business owners and friends, Norms says of his wife, who passed away in October 2014.

When Norm retired from the corporate world in 1985, he began to work full-time for the business.

“I wanted a change. I was kind of burned out with what I was doing. It’s an artistic, hands-on kind of thing,” Norm says. “I wanted to keep the legacy going with the business that Phyllis had started way back then.”

Norm ran the business from 1985 to 1992, with Scott, the youngest of five children, taking over in 1993.

“I was the only one that knew anything about it,” Scott says, adding he would go to the store instead of day care starting at about the age of 7. “I did grow up around it…. I was always doing the engraving as a little kid.”

Norm says he’s glad Scott stepped up to the plate because he’d hate to see the store go the way of so many independent family businesses that either lose continuity or close up shop.

“It would be nice to see it keep going for a while yet.” Norm says. “He certainly does things differently than I did it. I guess that’s to be expected. He’s kept it going. That’s the main thing.”

The jewelry store has changed locations several times over the years, but is now located on South Pikes Peak Drive on land owned by Norm, Scott, and two other siblings, Curt and Rhonda.

Scott says the business has survived the tough economic times by offering the kind of service that customers won’t find on the Internet or at shopping malls. He’s also appreciated having his Dad nearby.

Now, as they get ready to celebrate a Father’s Day together for the first time since Phyllis’ passing, not much will be different. Scott says the entire family will keep with its tradition of going to see one of his brothers, Rod, play with his band, SaddleRock.