Waller & Company Jewelers, Richmond’s oldest black-owned jewelry and watch repair shop

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — For over 100 years, many have relied on Waller & Company Jewelers to repair their watches, get fine jewelry and even black Greek regalia.

Owner Richard Waller Jr.’s  grandfather started the company 117 years ago. Waller recalls the moment his grandfather started out on a course that would lead to the oldest black-owned jewelry and watch repair shop in Richmond.

“He was around eight-years-old and his grandmother’s clock wasn’t working,” Waller Jr. said.

In those days, it was not easy for a black man to have his own business, let alone, a successful one.

“You know, it was tough because not until 1920, was my grandfather able to buy parts for clocks and watches,” Waller said. “He had to make his own parts for repairs because people here would just not sell to him because of what we look like.”

Owner Richard Waller Jr. examining a piece of jewelry.
Owner Richard Waller Jr. examining a piece of jewelry.

 

Waller & Company has thrived for four generations, thanks to well-known customers like Maggie Walker, and more recently a producer for the locally filmed movie “Lincoln.”

David Waller, part owner, along with his dad and brother, are proud of his family’s legacy.

On the wall, a nod to the early days, a clock that Waller Jr.’s grandfather fixed in 1928. A symbol of determination they hope other young entrepreneurs will embrace.

A clock that Waller Jr.'s grandfather fixed in 1928.
A clock that Waller Jr.’s grandfather fixed in 1928.

 

“Learn all you can about it and work at it and you can be successful,” Waller Jr. said.

The store’s original owner, Marcellus Carrington Waller, also owned a grocery store in 1896 before opening his jewelry and watch repair shop.

You can find Waller & Company on East Broad St. in Jackson Ward.

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