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Prominent York jeweler started in Red Lion

Shaffner’s was the jeweler to go to in York County from the 1930s thru the 1970s. Kathy made that statement while I helped with her family history research at the York County History Center. In turn, she shared Shaffner’s insight used in this post.

Kathy considered Shaffner’s so important to her family story; she had done research on that jeweler. Three generations of her family bought their wedding rings there; all personally sold to them by the owner Charles H. Shaffner.

The introductory photo shows the first block of the south side of East Market Street in York, near Christmas in the early 1950s. Charles H. Shaffner’s establishment was located at 6 East Market Street from 1940 until 1964; which is where Kathy’s parents and all of her aunts and uncles bought their wedding rings.

Click on this LINK for a yorkblog.com Full View of the three original photos in this post if details are cut off in the cropping of the photos, or if any has been removed from the ydr.com site.

I’ve focused in on the Charles H. Shaffner store at 6 East Market Street in the above photo. His store was next to Newswagers Shoe Store, which was on the square. To the east side of Shaffner’s was Martha Washington Candies at 8 East Market Street. In 1964, Shaffner’s moved across the street, as a result of the bank expansion toward the square. Later in this post I’ll look at that third business location in York, at 9 East Market Street, and at the Shaffner’s stores in the Malls.

Charles H. Shaffner was born near Elizabethtown in Lancaster County. He graduated from Bowman Technical School and apprenticed to a jeweler in Philadelphia. After which he served as a master watchmaker at Hamilton Watch Company in Lancaster.

Charles married Mary Kathryn Reinhold and they had two children: Donald and Jerry. In the late 1920s, Charles H. Shaffner established his own business at 64 North Main Street in Red Lion. The family lived next door at 62 North Main Street. Kathy’s grandparents bought their wedding rings at that store.

I verified the Red Lion connection via 1930 Census records and via a C. H. Shaffner ad, on page 132 of the 1930 Red Lion Golden Jubilee souvenir book, noting his business, at 64 North Main Street includes: diamonds, clocks, watches and silverware. The Red Lion store was sold in 1932 when the family moved to downtown York.

In 1934, the initial Shaffner’s store location in York opened at 33 West Market Street. The York store offered an expanded selection of timepieces, diamonds and jewelry like that Old British coin. It was one of the first stores in York to offer a Brides Registry. In 1940 the store moved to 6 East Market Street.

Kathy stated Shaffner’s was much more than a jeweler and watchmaker. Thru generations, it was where her family purchased silverware, fine crystal and fine china. Some of the brands being: sterling silver manufactured by Gorham, and Reed & Barton; crystal produced by Duncan & Miller; and china manufactured by Wedgewood and Theodore Haviland. Watch sales and watch repair was a major part of the business. Brands handled included: Hamilton, Bulova, Longines, Elgin, and Jules Jurgensen.

In 1964, Shaffner’s moved into their biggest store, to date, at 9 East Market Street. At the time, the six-story building was known as the Small Building. Shaffner’s entrance doors and display windows covered much of the width of the building. The door at the east side of the building, 11 East Market Street, led to the offices in the upper floors. See the following, circa 1970, photo of the building.

In 1969, Charles H. Shaffner was the major investor in a group purchasing the Small Building. Likely that is when the storefront, shown in the photo, was applied on the first two floors. In the deeds for this purchase, the building name was changed to Eleventh Building.

When Charles H. Shaffner expanded into the Malls, he did not close the store in downtown York. Shaffner’s at the York Mall opened in 1968. Shaffner’s at the North Mall opened in 1969. There was also a Shaffner’s at the North Hanover Mall.

When it came time for Kathy and her husband to purchase their wedding rings in 1972, they got insight that Charles H. Shaffner had decided to retire; he was in his seventies. He wanted his son Donald, already heavily involved in running the business, to invest in and take over the business. However instead, Donald Shaffner chose to start his own jewelry business, from scratch, in Florida.

In 1973, Charles H. Shaffner had their going out of business sales, and closed all their jewelry stores. The North Mall store had a bridal store attached, which was bought by several employees who continued to operate it.

The downtown store at 9 East Market Street, sat vacant for a short time, before it opened on July 25, 1974 as Goodwill Industries retail store. In time, the Eleventh Building was purchased for another facelift; at which time the top three floors were removed. Leaving the three-story Rich Executive Building standing at the site today.

Within that yorkblog.com site, the York Daily Record is presently experiencing gremlins, which, on some platforms, results in a new window opening at findbetterresults.com; a site no longer used by the York Daily Record. While the York Daily Record works on correcting this problem, simply close that window; the linked blog page, within yorkblog.com, that you were intending to reach should appear.

The gremlin also appears on the other yorkblog.com sites: Cannonball site of Scott Mingus, Only in York County site of Joan Concilio, Universal York site of June Lloyd, and York Town Square site of Jim McClure, where you can continue to access Jim’s older posts prior to October 30, 2015. As with all the yorkblog.com sites, the “Search this blog” within the page continues to be a fantastic search tool within each individual site.

Links to posts of a few other downtown York businesses:

Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts