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Berlin’s Treasure Chest announces transition plans  

The Treasure Chest, a staple on Main Street in Berlin since 1977, welcomed Ashley Harrison this month to work with owner Terri Sexton.

Berlin Tressure Chest

Ashley Harrison and Terri Sexton will be working together operating The Treasure Chest in Berlin with Sexton planning to retire in a few years.
Photo by Charlene Sharpe/Bayside Gazette

By Charlene Sharpe, Associate Editor

Shoppers will notice a new face behind the counter at one of Berlin’s iconic downtown businesses.

The Treasure Chest, a staple on Main Street since 1977, welcomed Ashley Harrison this month. Harrison will be working with owner Terri Sexton to learn the ins and outs of the jewelry store to take it over as Sexton retires. While the store will eventually change hands, the pair stressed that there wasn’t a specific date yet and that they’d be taking their time to ensure the transition went smoothly.

“It’s going to be business as usual,” Sexton said.

In 1977, Bill Freeman, Sexton’s father, purchased The Treasure Chest from Tom and Doris Taylor. While the shop was initially giftware, Freeman gradually transitioned it toward jewelry. Sexton, who took it over in 2000, made fine jewelry the store’s primary focus.  The store has found success offering something for everyone, with a selection of quality diamond jewelry as well as unique pieces in sterling silver. 

Harrison, a Berlin native and Stephen Decatur High School graduate, worked for a jeweler for several years while she lived in New York. After returning to the Eastern Shore, she approached Sexton around 2018 to express an interest in taking over the store. While it was something Sexton wanted to consider, the onset of the pandemic in 2020 derailed any discussions. Harrison eventually reached out to Sexton again. 

“She contacted me again and I said when can you start,” Sexton said.

On April 1, Harrison joined her behind the counter at The Treasure Chest. She’s learning how Sexton handles the business and is expanding her knowledge of jewelry. Harrison plans to learn about diamond grading and become a gemologist. 

She will have time, as Sexton plans to work a few more years.

“If we wait until 2027, it’ll be the 50th year in my family and then I can pass the torch to the new family,” Sexton said. 

She added that during her time in Berlin she’d watched the town transform into the busy attraction it is now.

“I’ve been through so many changes in town,” she said. “Right now I feel like we’re at a high.”

For her part, Harrison is looking forward to getting to know The Treasure Chest’s customers and spending her days as a jeweler. 

“I love jewelry, I love the town, I also love the customers, and that The Treasure Chest has been an institution for so long,” Harrison said. “I get to just be around jewelry all the time and make people happy with it.”

Ivy Wells, the town’s economic and community development director, said she was thrilled to see The Treasure Chest remain a part of the Main Street business scene. 

“We’re very happy that Ashley will preserve The Treasure Chest’s legacy here in Berlin that Terri’s family started all those years ago,” Wells said.

This story appears in the May 2, 2024, print edition of the Bayside Gazette.