A man by the name of John T. Sawyer left Omaha, Nebraska in 1878,
departing for the Redwood Empire of Northern California. Settling
in Santa Rosa, he opened a watch and clock shop in a location shared
with a candy store. The business prospered and in 1879 he moved
into his own store.
In 1884, when John Sawyer became ill, his son, Elbert R. Sawyer
dropped out of high school to work in the store. Five years later
in 1889, he took over the business from his father, and renamed
the store E.R. Sawyer, Jeweler. One of the most respected merchants
in the community, Elbert saw the store grow under his guidance for
more than fifty years.
Elbert died in 1948. Following his death, E.R. Sawyer, Jeweler
was purchased from his widow in 1949 by Allan and Virginia Flood,
in partnership with Allan's uncle, Orrin Magoon. The company's name
was modified to E.R. Sawyer Jewelers.
When Orrin retired in 1962, Robert Van Dyke began working in the
store, learning the jewelry business from Allan Flood, who was his
father in law. The Flood's retired in 1978, and the business passed
on to Robert and Kathleen Van Dyke. Kathleen was Allan and Virginia's
Douglas Van Dyke began working at E.R. Sawyer jewelers in 1987,
the fifth generation to join the family business, continuing tradition
into the company's second century.
In 1996 Gary Bayless, designer and Master Goldsmith, was welcomed
to the E.R. Sawyer jewelers team. After 20 years, he chose to close
his own business, "A Study in Gold," allowing him the
opportunity to dedicate his talents on custom designs and jewelry
As far as records show, the store has been open for business each
and every scheduled work day, with the exception of one. On the
fragile yellow pages of old store records, there are entries on
the day before the Great Quake of 1906. No entries can be found
on the actual date of the Great Quake, April 18th. Continuing entries
of the next day indicate it was back to business as usual.
Over the years E.R. Sawyer jewelers has done business in several
different locations in the downtown area of Santa Rosa, following
the central business core as it moved. Both "A" Street
and Hinton Avenue have had the store there. Previous to its current
site, E.R. Sawyer Jewelers was at 628 Fourth Street for thirty years.
E.R. Sawyer Jewelers has been in its present store at 638 Fourth
Street since 1981