Pollocks Jewelers Celebrates 150 Years in Business

Tyson Compton

In today’s disposable world, many businesses open and close practically overnight. 
So, it’s exciting and impressive to see a local business in operation for many years–150 years to be exact.
Pollock’s Jewelers first opened for business in 1874, meaning they celebrate their 150th Anniversary this year. That’s quite a milestone!
The founding owner was Isaac Newton Pollock, but in 1955, ClaytonHagans purchased the business from Pollock’s niece. It has been in the same family now for three generations. Clayton and his wife Virginia had three daughters. Leslie, the oldest, married David Hill. In 1985 they moved back to Ashland from Pennsylvania to manage the stores, along with Leslie’s sister Carol Ferry.

Originally located on 15th Street, Pollock’s moved to the Camayo Arcade in 1961. Later, the business grew to include a store at Mid-Town Shopping Center, and for a while, there was a third location at Cedar Knoll. The Mid Town location moved to Ashland Town Center in 1993. But in July 2003, they left the Arcade and mall and built the freestanding store at their current location.
In 2000, the Hills left to do missionary work in Honduras. Their son, Clay Hill, then took over and continues operating the store today.
“Thinking back on it, that was an exciting but nerve-wracking time,” Hill said. “In high school I wrote a paper on how third generation family businesses fail. That really stuck with me and I didn’t want it to go down on my watch.”
Far from that, Pollock’s Jewelers has continued to grow and remain successful, although the business has changed tremendously. “We went through Y2K, 9/11, the internet exploding, a recession, and AK Steel closing,” Hill stated. “All of that presented a challenge. Business has changed and evolved. We had to adapt to stay relevant.”

While diamonds are the number one seller, the shop also offers various gift lines, such as Waterford crystal, picture frames, and Pandora. “We pride ourselves on being a one stop shop so we offer a gift for any occasion, Hill said. “Prices can range from $20, to $200, to $20,000.” It's not just the amazing product line that keeps customers returning. “We know customers by name,” Hill said. “I give them my cell number and they know they can reach me any time. I enjoy that. It creates a bond. That’s my way of offsetting them going to the internet at 2 a.m. I’ve met customers at 5 a.m. and 9 at night. I like having them know I am here for them any time, and they can depend on me.”
Though she now resides in Virginia, long-time customer Jane Ehrie remains loyal 
to Pollock’s. “Times change, but the classics are still the classics,” she said. 
“Shopping there was a family tradition. No one else has anything to compare. There is a special quality they offer that is just unique.” Hill and the staff never want the customer to feel pressured. “It’s on me to educate people on how to compare apples to apples so that they don’t make a mistake on buying a diamond,” he said. “We are not on commission and will never be on commission. We want to keep the customer at the center of the buying decision. No sales person has to meet a particular goal, so they can help the customer make the 
best purchase for them.”
Then to top it off, they tie it all up with a pretty little bow. “My friends, especially those out of town, are always impressed with the gifts I’ve shared,” said Ehrie.  “It’s a Pollock’s tradition to have them beautifully wrapped.”
“For us to be 150 years old, it’s the people of Ashland and surrounding area who made that possible,” said Hill. “We wouldn’t be here without their patronage. With all the opportunities and places available, we’re very grateful to have them as customers and friends.”
Hill said a few events would be planned later this year to celebrate. One might even coincide with the Kentucky Derby, which also celebrates 150 years.

Pollock’s Jewelers - 913 Winchester Avenue, Ashland, KY 41101

Open seven days a week.