When You Think of Downtown You Think of Lillian Trickel
By Anne McKay Garris
In 1979, while other merchants were leaving Downtown Clearwater in droves and property owners were lobbying City Commissioners to "do something," Lillian Trickel, long-term jewelry storeowner in the area, put her money where her mouth was and built a new, handsome store on Cleveland Street. She not only set an example for the rest of the property owners, she thrived.
Lillian Trickel, whose jewelry business outlasted all the other businesses in Downtown, died at the age of 92 on March 7, 2010.
From 1945, when Lillian and her husband, Bill, opened the Trickel Jewelers, Mrs. Trickel was known as the one with all the answers about wedding jewelry and elegant gifts. In the days before wedding registries, Mrs. Trickel seemed always to know what the current brides preferred. Her husband handled the watch and jewelry repair, while Lillian was in charge of making each customer feel special.
When Clearwater's Downtown began to wane, Mrs. Trickel became its staunchest defender. A long-term member of the Downtown Development Board, she fought for parking on the street in front of the stores, intelligent use of the income from a special tax for Downtown, and anything and everything that would boost Downtown progress.
In 2005, Mrs. Trickel was still actively supervising the running of her store and involved in what was happening in Downtown. The Clearwater City Council gave her a key to the city, acknowledging her 60 years of civic involvement, even though much of that involvement had consisted of lecturing the City Officials on the error of their ways.
Her son, Billy Trickel, and her husband, for whom she built a memorial garden next door to the store, preceded Mrs. Trickel in death. Her daughter, Debbie King, is now operating Trickels Jewelers as it continues to set the example for businesses in Downtown Clearwater and business owners everywhere.
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