It started on Sept. 1, 1873, when 20-year-old Anton H. Fetting set up shop at 8 E. German St., specializing in the custom manufacturing of jewels.
It will begin winding down next week, with a going-out-of-business sale starting next Friday as the Towson Town Center's A. H. Fetting jewelry company closes after 118 years as a family-owned business.
John H. "Jack" Fetting Jr., who has run the business since his father died in 1957, says he is nearly 68 years old and is "blessed with children whose distinctions abound in other fields."
If he stayed on at Towson Town, Mr. Fetting said, he would have to negotiate a new long-term lease and remodel his store.
"If I were 47 or 57 I would do it without question, because I have confidence in the expansion that is under way here."
The shopping center is undergoing a huge expansion that will more than double its space and will include the area's first Nordstrom's department store.
A. H. Fetting's history mirrors the Baltimore area's growth.
Burned out by the Great Fire of 1904, the company joined with other merchants to rebuild, reopening at 213 Liberty St. downtown.
In 1927, it moved to North Charles Street, and it later expanded there by renting adjacent buildings.
Anticipating the importance of the emerging suburbs, the firm opened a branch location in 1959 in what is now Towson Town Center.
The Charles Street store was closed in 1979, but the company still has its offices, repair facilities and storage on North Charles Street.
"Clearly, I have mixed emotions," said Mr. Fetting. "I don't have any plans, and I will need to find some kind of activity, whether volunteer work or whatever. I'm not the kind of person who can sit around all day."
The store's regular customers have been invited to a close-out sale beginning next Friday. A "Farewell Sale" will be open to the public beginning Monday, April 22.