A Fond Farewell
This month the signs went up – 50% off all stock reduced. Everyone knew it was the end. Erickson’s Jewelers was going out of business. In the Andersonville business district, the Erickson name has been around a long time. In fact its the one name that has been a part of Andersonville even before the Chamber of Commerce took the name Andersonville. A 1917 ad for the store showed its location at 52 N. Clark. For the past 50 years there have been two Erickson’s – the Jeweler and the Deli. Though it was a part of the Swedish history of the area, the latest owner, Jungi Park, came as an immigrant from Korea in 1967.
Mr. Park came to Chicago to join his older brother, Syngi Park, who had immigrated in the late ‘50s. Syngi Park worked for Mr. Larson at the store and then joined him in a partnership. Meanwhile, Jungi attended college and began looking for work. His brother offered him a job and then a partnership. Jungi settled in West Andersonville and, for a long time, walked to work. Then, when his brother wanted to retire, he bought out his brother’s half and became the sole owner in 1996.
All these years the Park brothers have had many loyal Swedish customers. Some families have had three generations of wedding rings purchased at Erickson’s Jewelers. Because of the high quality of their inventory and their good service, the Park brothers maintained the good reputation of the original Erickson’s Jewelers. Jungi Park said that they never saw any reason to change the name of the business. It was already well known.
Now little remains of the store, but the façade and memorable sign. Jungi Park has been surprised by the outpouring of well wishes for his retirement from his customers and many in the area. “People have stopped by and sent notes. This was a surprise to me” said Mr. Park. But it should be no surprise. People appreciate a business they can count on. After so many years, they expect it to be there. But everyone understands that the time comes to retire, to relax and enjoy life. Mr. Park and his wife hope to do some traveling. “Perhaps we will finally get to Germany and Switzerland,” he said, “I learned German in college many years ago and I always wanted to travel there.”
Mr. Park says he has been very lucky, lucky to have such a good business in a good location and to have many satisfied customers. We have been lucky too.