The Sholdt history dates all the way back to 1935. Seattle was a different place back then – The Pike Place Market still allowed livestock. Boeing’s newest aircraft was the prop-driven 247. Bill Gates and Howard Schultz wouldn’t even be born for another twenty years. A young man named Milton Sholdt purchased a fledgling jewelry repair business and set up shop. He spent those early years doing trade-work for the local jewelry retailers. He was an outgoing, friendly man that loved to travel. A true firecracker, Milton was also an enthusiastic drinker and playful lady’s man.
“My dad would tell me stories from his childhood,” says Kalee, “of watching Great Granddad taking sips off of a glass of Old Rocking Chair Whiskey. I doubt Milton ever envisioned the business going this far.”
Milton’s original safe, with the words “Milton H. Sholdt” hand-painted in gilded lettering, still stands in the shop today. Inside of the safe’s heavy door lies a smaller combination lock-box that hasn’t been opened in 60 years.
“I have no idea what’s in there,” says Kalee. “Somewhere along the way the combination got lost. We can’t get into it without ruining the safe, so everyone just let it be. Why spoil the mystery now? It’s a part of my family’s story.”
In 1963 Milton’s oldest son, Milton Jr., gave up his first career as a carpenter and turned to the more alluring family business. Together Milton Jr. and his wife, Patricia, cared for the business for two decades. Through his kind demeanor and patient outlook on life, Milton Jr. grew to be known for outstanding customer service. Behind the scenes, he housed a dogged determination to provide the utmost quality. As a result, he and Patricia hired only the most talented jewel-smiths. By the time he sold the company to his sons, Brian and Dusty, Sholdt had become known throughout the trade as the preeminent repair shop in Seattle.