The Student news source for West Shore Junior/Senior High School

The Roar

The Student news source for West Shore Junior/Senior High School

The Roar

The Student news source for West Shore Junior/Senior High School

The Roar

Generational Gems

Since 1955, the Sullivan family has made a name for itself in the Melbourne community, which has passed down for generations.
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Violet Sullivan (middle) poses with two of her sons at Sullivan’s S&S Jewelers. Today, Mike Sullivan (left) co-owns the business with his sister, Angie Sullivan Evans.

Joe Sullivan and his wife, Violet, discovered a lifelong passion when they opened their first watch repair shop in 1948, and it became a calling that would carry on through the following generations.

The couple met as patients at ​​The Crippled Children’s Hospital in Gastonia, North Carolina. Neither one of them was expected to survive, but they persevered.

The Sullivans married in 1947, moved to Brevard in 1955 and opened three stores. In 1978, they built Sullivan’s S&S Jewelers at 209 N. Babcock Street in Melbourne, which their children, Mike Sullivan and Angie Sullivan Evans, co-own today. Michael Sullivan Jr. also works alongside his father, Mike Sullivan.

Evans said she remembers helping at one of the family stores when she attended Central Junior High School, now West Shore Jr/Sr High School.

“This was the center of town back in the day,” Evans said. “There were two bowling alleys right in this area. There was the drive-in theater and the big theater on the corner. There’s a lot of history in this area.”

While businesses such as the drive-in theater are long gone, Evans said her family and employees “are blessed to still be here.”

In 1969, six years before she graduated from Eau Gallie High School, her city of Melbourne and the neighboring city of Eau Gallie combined.

“We were trying to figure out the name (of the new city) and it ended up being Melbourne,” Evans said. “All the Eau Gallie people were kind of mad about that. We wanted it (the new name) to be Harbor City or something that was not just Melbourne. We wanted it to be something unique.”

Regardless of the change, Evans said the family businesses remained “extremely busy.”

“They (my parents) were both very highly respected,” she said. “They were both disabled, and they never took an unemployment check or disability check. I would say their best quality (was that) they were extremely honest. In this type of business, honesty is really important, especially when you’re taking in people’s diamond rings and resetting stones.”

Even after Joe Sullivan’s passing in 2015 at the age of 90, Evans said his impact continues to be felt in the community.

“My mom passed away in 2006, but my dad continued to be here pretty much every day until a couple of weeks before he passed away,” she said. “He lived to be here, you know. It was his pride and joy. He was quite a character in the community: very funny and very loved.”

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About the Contributor
Rhea Sinha
Rhea Sinha, Staff Writer
I'm a sophomore and a first-year writer on the staff. I love talking to people with fresh perspectives and hope to share their stories with my writing. I have played on the varsity tennis team for the past three years, and I'm excited to continue both tennis and journalism for the rest of my high school experience.