There didn’t appear to be any pun intended when Ron Graham was asked why he’s calling it a day at The Clock Gallery in Lansdowne Centre.
With antique grandfather clocks chiming on the hour in the background, 62-year-old Graham told the Richmond News, “It’s time. I’m healthy.”
After managing and then owning the store for 30 years, the “clock man,” as he’s known, is retiring, with the final countdown set for Dec. 31 – if it even lasts that long.
“That’s the plan…if we have anything left, it’s going fast,” said Graham, surrounded by gramophones, a framed portrait of a Second World War Spitfire and a $10,000 grandfather clock, which commemorates Admiral Nelson’s death in 1805.
“It could be the middle of December at this rate. All those clocks over there have been sold. It’s 50 per cent or more off everything.
“I’d rather sell it all than store it.”
Graham, who came over in 1989 from Ontario to manage the chain’s store in Burnaby, said The Clock Gallery has graced Lansdowne for about 38 years, in various locations.
“This is the third location within Lansdowne. It started off in the centre court, where the luggage store is now, then moved to where the tea store is. It has been here for 20 years.
“It has been a good addition to Richmond and there’s not been one like it in the region for many years now.”
Asked why he’s “calling time” on The Clock Gallery, Graham said most of the generation that valued the craftsmanship of grandfather clocks are now gone.
“The Boomers are not into that. They’re into big-screen TVs and furniture from Walmart,” he laughed.
“It has been tough. But what’s saved us over the years has been the Chinese community here in Richmond.
“That’s why we’re still here. They enjoy beautiful things and can afford them. Just look at the cars being driven around the city.
“And there’s nothing they like better than things made in Germany, Italy and England. We’ve been shipping overseas big time to China. It’s either for their home here or in China.”
Graham – who put the feelers out for a buyer but didn’t receive any serious offers - has mixed emotions about his impending retirement.
“There’s nothing quite like this place. It’s a shame,” added Graham, who walks 20 minutes to work every day.
“But, as I said…it’s time.”