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Sandy Hook, CT 06482

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Article The Newtown Bee, Friday , March15, 2002

A Busy Clock ‘Doc’ With Time On His Hands

By Steve Bigham

The newly opened Holliday Jewelers at 115 South Main Street ( NOW LOCATED at 25 Bridge End Farm Lane, Sandy Hook, CT 06482) specializes in timepieces and bills itself as having “a clock for everyone.”

The store’s showroom is filled with grandfather clocks, cuckoo clocks, atomic clocks, nautical clocks, and an assortment of other timekeepers, including watches. On the hour every hour, the store clocks chime in unison, serving as a reminder that Holliday Jewelers is more about clocks than actual jewelry.

Owner Ken Doersch grew up in the jewelry business and has spent much of his life restoring clocks of all kinds. He specializes in older clocks and may be able to fix that old clock your grandparents gave you. Ken is also a woodworker and specializes in the restoration of clock wood casings. He once built a grandfather clock from scratch.

The “Clock Dr,” as he license plate reads, says the clock repair business requires a steady hand, a lot of patience, and, of course, time. And time has always been on the side of Ken and Molly Doersch, who have lived in town for 16 years and have three grown children, ages 28, 26, and 21.

If you are having trouble with your time, Ken will happily come to your home.

“We make house calls. We had one guy drag his grandfather clock into the shop recently. We’ll come to you and we’ll be there on time,” he explained. “We just specialize in time.”

Holliday Jewelers was actually established by Mr Doersch’s grandfather in Nyack, N.Y., back in 1926 and remained in business until 1993. Holliday Jewelers reopened in Newtown just before Christmas.

“When Ken was 14, his father and grandfather gave him a clock, he took it apart and put it back together again. He’s been fixing clocks ever since,” explained Molly Doersch, who tends the store most days. At night, you can often find her working at the Inn at Newtown.

Ken, when not fixing clocks, heads the purchasing department at Clairol in Stamford. Soon, however, he’ll be working at Holliday full-time, since Clairol was recently bought out by Procter & Gamble.

Ken had a heart attack four years ago and with dozens of clocks lying around, began fixing them while recovering. Most of his clock work is done at his workshop in the barn behind his Bridge End Farm Lane home.

“One day he said to me, `you know, I could make this a business,'” Molly explained.

When you fix clocks, you’re bound to have some interesting stories. One of Ken’s favorites is the time he set out to fix a woman’s grandfather clock only to discover a Bug was stuck between the gears. After pulling the critter out, the clock started ticking again. He did not charge her for the work.

Then there was the time he rescued a man who decided to fix his clock himself.

“The weights fell off and the gears popped off, so he called me up and we got the thing put back together,” Ken recalled. “Trying to fix a clock can be a disaster if you don’t know what you’re doing.”

Better to leave it to the experts. All of Ken’s work is guaranteed.