Jeweller’s glittering legacy to live on

Matthew WoodleyGeraldton Guardian
Owners Elise Forth and her husband Shain.
Camera IconOwners Elise Forth and her husband Shain. Credit: Matthew Woodley

Leon Baker Jewellers has marked their 130th anniversary, with locally-owned business being kept in the family for four generations.

The shop is currently owned by Elise Forth and her husband, Shain Forth.

Mrs Forth, who started working at the store when she was 16, took over the business in 2007 when her father, David Leon Baker, retired and said protecting the family legacy was important to her.

“I’ve got a lot of memories from the shop and people in it,” she said.

“I’m proud of the heritage of where it’s all come from and how it’s still in the family.

“It’s rare these days to have a family business carry on the tradition from 130 years ago.”

The history of Leon Baker Jewellers dates back to 1886 when Douglas Harry Baker started his apprenticeship in Barnet, England.

In 1911 the family emigrated to Australia where they settled in Geraldton, before moving all over the State to places including Northam, Merredin and Carnarvon — eventually opening a chain of four stores in various regional centres.

Mrs Forth’s father sold the stores in the 1970s, before again re-establishing a presence in Geraldton, where the business has remained ever since.

According to Mrs Forth, honesty, integrity and quality workmanship were the secrets to staying in business for such a long period of time and the family aimed to continue the tradition.

“It’s very important that we carry on the tradition of good service and quality workmanship, all done on the premises locally,” she said.

“My dad has retired now, so Shain and I have had the business for nine years and we will hopefully pass it on to our kids.

“That will be the fifth generation, which is pretty amazing.”

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