Mukilteo to lose a gem

By Paul Archipley | Dec 21, 2016
Photo by: Paul Archipley Toni Geiger, left, owner of Harbour Pointe Jewelers, is going to retire. They’re offering deep discounts right now, and will continue to have sales until the end of their lease in 2017. Pictured with Geiger are, from left, Gordon Welch, Gloria Lagris and Jennifer Behrendt. The store mascot is Bernie.

Like the rocks they polished in a tumbler her father invented, Toni Geiger is one of the gems that helped make Mukilteo a “favorite city by the bay.”

Geiger, owner of Harbour Pointe Jewelers, is preparing to call it quits after 43 years in business.

She and her late husband, Jim, opened Harbour Pointe Jewelers in 1987 in a storefront just south of their current location in Harbour Pointe Shopping Center.

But their story goes back much further. Toni’s father, an inventor, used to take her to La Push where they would walk on the beach and notice people picking up rocks.

Her father asked one of them what he did with the rocks, and the collector described putting them into a tumbler that would smooth them down.

Fascinated, her father bought a tumbler and started polishing rocks. But the machine was so loud, he had to put it outside. And he got to thinking …

Thus was born an invention, a rubber-lined tumbler that still polished the rocks but didn’t give you tinnitus.

Its popularity “skyrocketed,” Toni said, and soon she and Jim were selling tumblers and other equipment as well as polished stones at the World of Gems, their store in Ballard.

Over time, they began adding more jewelry to their inventory, Jim became a gemologist, and they relocated north to Mukilteo.

Harbour Pointe Jewelers became known for quality and service, and Jim became equally well known for his love of baseball and his coaching skills.

He was an assistant coach at Kamiak High School from the day it opened until his untimely death in 2007 at age 57. He suffered a fatal infection following surgery.

Kamiak’s home ball field, Geiger Field, is named in his honor.

Toni and a dedicated staff carried on, still focusing on quality, one-of-a-kind jewelry and service.

But the rise of the big box stores and, then, the internet have all-but put the “mom and pop” retail stores on life support.

“The internet is really what’s killing us small people,” Toni said.

So she is going to retire, and Harbour Pointe Jewelers will close. Her lease is up at the end of July 2017, and she’ll continue to operate until then.

Meanwhile, Harbour Pointe Jewelers is offering huge discounts on everything in the store, from a minimum of 30 percent all the way up to 60 percent off.

“I was never one to raise my prices, so when we have something discounted, it’s really discounted,” Toni said.

Craftsman Gordon Welch can design and make jewelry in-house, and Toni orders rare pieces, sometimes just one that she won’t buy again and that you won’t find anywhere else.

“We have things in every category,” she said. “We sell a lot of one-of-a-kind, things that aren’t mass produced. And a lot is made here.”

Toni admits it will be hard to walk away, not having a workplace to go to every day. “And there are a lot of loyal people I’ll miss,” she said.

But all of her friends are retired, and “they all assure me I’ll find plenty to do.”

“Change is fine,” she said.

But Mukilteo won’t be the same.

Harbour Pointe Jewelers’ annual Holiday Sale continues until this Saturday, Dec. 24. Located at 11700 Mukilteo Speedway #401 (next door to QFC), they’re open from 10-6 weekdays, 10-4 Saturday.

 

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