News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Beloved business has new owners

Mark your calendars for Thursday, June 8, 3 to 6 p.m., to gather at Beacham's Clock Company located at 300 W. Hood Ave. to celebrate Ed and Kathi Beacham's 45 years as one of the finest clock shops in the country - and to welcome the Recksiek family of Utah as they assume ownership of the business.

Visiting Beacham's is a feast for the senses. Every hour and half-hour there are chimes, bongs, bells, and tweets as the clocks do their job of announcing the passage of time. On some of the clocks it is possible to watch the pendulums swing, the gears move, and figurines go in and out.

This place of time, sound, and movement has been The Beacham's world since they moved to Sisters in 1978 when the population of the town was 660. Ed seemed amazed as he recalled moving here, starting with no guaranteed income, and thinking he would be able to make a living. His friends thought they were crazy.

"Nobody needs clocks," Ed offered.

And yet today, clocks of every shape, size, and design can be found in the shop, with prices ranging from $10 to the $125,000 German castle clock that was commissioned by King Frederick III in 1870. It is a massive clock that came into the shop in several pieces and now stands stoutly at the bottom of the stairs that lead to the second-floor balcony.

Together Ed and Kathi have created a world of precision, beauty, and whimsy that, until recently, was overseen by their 28-pound ginger cat, Buddy, who accompanied them to work every day. Buddy could be found lounging in his fleece cuddle cup on the counter, waiting to greet his "groupies" who came specifically to visit him. Buddy "Crossed the Rainbow Bridge" around Easter this year and Kathi is certain he is waiting for her on the other side.

In 1995, they built their current Victorian building, where Ed's reputation as a master clockmaker has brought visitors and customers from across the country and around the globe. Inside the shop, from the second-floor balcony, visitors can see the workings of the beautiful stained-glass clock face located on the front of the building. It is also a good spot to survey the hundreds of clocks and hear them ticking and chiming.

Ed has spent his entire working life, 58 years, building well over 1,000 clocks. His eventual career received its first spark in his high school woodshop in Eagle Point, Oregon, when his teacher assigned him a grandfather clock project that he didn't really want to make. He discovered he had a talent for and loved precision woodworking. All these decades later, one entire wall on the first floor of the shop is devoted to awards and certificates, many from the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, earned by Ed for his world-class creations.

Kathi's touch is evident throughout the shop and Ed readily credits her with the smooth operations. She has worked alongside Ed for all their 54 years of married life, running their retail shop and, at one time, doing clock repair. She has focused on buying and selling inventory, setting up the displays, handling the shipping and receiving, keeping the books, dealing with customers, giving appraisals, and a myriad of other tasks, all while making Ed feel he is the most important person in the world.

"I like working with him. We're a good team," said Kathi.

At 75, Ed and Kathi are ready to enjoy their retirement. They plan to do some traveling this summer in the West, visiting family and some national parks. Ed also plans to attend a woodworking convention in Las Vegas. They want to see the Mt. Olympus Clock Co. in Salt Lake City owned by the Recksiek family.

Kathi says she'll be kept busy in their "six-acre gym" – doing yardwork. She has also agreed to volunteer as a bookkeeper for the Three Sisters Historical Society. Ed has moved all his equipment home and will continue to create his beautiful precision works of art there, while also mentoring the Recksieks.

The Beachams have been in the process of closing out their business over the last nine months. Kathy said it was a "pure miracle" that their one ad in Clocks magazine brought them the perfect family who want to carry on Ed's legacy of master clockmaking.

The Recksiek family of Utah has been in the clock business since their German grandfather opened his shop, which passed down to his son. The son had four children – Kirsten, Joe, Adam, and Aaron – who are all part of the business today, and among them, there are 15 more children.

They have purchased the Beacham name, trademarks, and the store inventory, including all the framed awards and ribbons on the wall of the shop and notebooks full of 45 years of newspaper and magazine articles about the shop and Ed's talent, and letters. The Beachams have retained ownership of the building and it is leased to the Ricksieks for five years, with a five-year extension possible.

The four owners have rented a house in Sisters and will individually come for two weeks at a time to apprentice with Ed to learn from him the art and craft of building entire clocks, which is what makes him unique among clockmakers.

According to Douglas Cowan of Clocks magazine, most of Ed's clocks are weight-driven wall clocks.

"What makes him unique... is that he makes the entire clock, starting with his own gear train design and proceeding through all the steps of movement and case making to the spectacular finished product. Other than hobby workers, I know of no one else doing that today in the USA."

Each of the four owners has their own specialty. Kirsten (Woodbury) will be the bookkeeper and handle all the paperwork. Joe is the business manager and is talented in watch and clock repair. Adam's specialty is clock repair, and he is interested in learning woodworking and machining from Ed. Aaron does watch repair and he will be working on one of Ed's prototypes for which the pieces are made.

They have all attended the Rolex school in Pennsylvania and have one of only 40 Rolex service centers in the US.

Reed Stickland has worked for the Beachams since 2004. He trained his daughter-in-law April Strickland how to repair watches and she joined the shop in 2010. They will both remain in their positions.

Ed and Kathi said the Recksieks are fun people to talk clocks with and they are bringing fresh new energy to the business.

"We feel comfortable turning the business over to them," said Ed.

"This is our baby, part of our lives," added Kathi. "We are passing on Ed's legacy. We want them to be successful."

May 31 is the Beachams' last day in the shop.


Reader Comments(0)

Rendered 07/12/2024 23:44