Tony Kennett's grandfather started the business in 1880 and his father was born in a back room of the Tony Kennett's grandfather started the business in 1880 and his father was born in a back room of the historic premises in 1889, but the Christchurch jewellery store has now been demolished.
Kennetts Jewellers in High St was demolished on Monday, ending 131 years of trading on the site.
Tony Kennett, 82, started working in the shop when he was 16 and came out of retirement late last year to help repair more than 40 grandfather clocks damaged in the September earthquake.
The February quake damaged the building, cracking the facade and causing it to lean on to the street.
Kennett said it was a "great shame" to lose the building, but he was pleased the building's contents were retrieved last week.
"It is a dreadful feeling. It is terrible," he said.
"It has been a pretty tough time. People were frightened about what was going to happen to everything inside. They worked very, very hard to get everything out."
He said his daughter, store manager Anne Kennett, had overseen the demolition process while he stayed in Kerikeri with his wife, Neroli.
"I am glad I can't get in there to see it. I am glad I am up here in Kerikeri. The family wouldn't let us near the place. We were kept right out of it," he said.
Anne Kennett said they planned to rebuild on the site but would open a new store in Sydenham until the red zone had reopened.
"It will be a number of years before things get sorted out in town. It will never be the same as a lot of retailers have moved out and lots of buildings have been demolished. It is all a bit sad really," she said.
Kennetts Jewellers is one of many buildings demolished on the block bounded by Manchester, High and Tuam streets.
Two buildings on the corner of Tuam and Manchester streets have been demolished, the Excelsior Hotel will retain only the Manchester St facade and a string of shops in High St have either been demolished or partly demolished to make them safe.
The Alices building in Tuam St, the MAINZ building in High St and the Two Fat Indians restaurant building in Manchester St are the only three to remain intact on the distinctive heritage block.