In the early 1870's, Stefanus Melby emigrated to America from Bergen, Norway on the
sailing ship America. He settled in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was a tailor.
His firstborn was Arnold M. Melby on 3-18-1894. In 1906, Stefanus and one child died
in the great flu epidemic.
Arnold, being the oldest survivor, had to help his mother support the family.
They moved to Crookston, Minnesota and he became an apprentice watchmaker while going
About 1916 he left home for Klammath Falls, Oregon where he worked for a jeweler
repairing watches and selling pocket watches to Norwegian lumberjacks on a motorcycle.
In 1919 he sent for Jennie Fylling to come and marry him. Later a child was born dead.
Then Donald came along in 1922.
Arnold moved to Santa Maria to work for Mr. Denton in 1922. Later in 1922 he moved to
Lompoc at the invitation of Walter Zieche to open a store there to compete with him.
He promised his extra repair business to get him going.
From 1922 to 1936 it was known as Arnold M. Melby Jeweler. The depression in the 1930s
took it's toll. In 1936 he moved to Santa Maria after buying a defunct jewelry store
for $10 at 116 North Broadway. It had showcases but no inventory, so he started with
nothing. He gradually built up a clientele as a watchmaker and then as a jeweler.
In 1943, he bought H.C. Corey's store and 109 West Main from a Kaufmann who had
bought it from Corey (a year earlier) for $5000.
In 1945, Donald came into the business after spending 2 1/12 years in the AirCorps
and becoming a C-47 pilot. He married Joyce Jensen in 1946. Later in 1946, he sold
the 116 North Broadway store to Bob Mollica, who was his watchmaker there. Two stores
a block apart did not make good sense.
In 1950 we expanded next door which had been Percey Senay's paint store and that added
1,000 square feet to our existing 1,000. This became our Sterling Silver Room. We
represented all of the major manufacturers as well as carrying fine china and crystal.
Ad Jensen, a retired J.C. Penney manager, came to take over office duties in 1959.
In 1960 we expanded again next door buyiong out Hugh Radke's fabric store. It then
became The Gift Shop. That added almost 2,000 square feet more.
Arnold died in 1965. Don retireed in 1987. Mark Melby, who began his career with
Melby's in 1975, became president. Joyce retired in 1988. Died 1999. Mark, now
president and CEO, moved the clock and store to Orcutt in 2000.
Tony Guzman started in 1978, now master goldsmith.
Aaron Sturges-Melby started in 1988, now manager.
Susan Weiner started in 1984, sales.
Stina Snow started in 1991, sales.
Debbie Buchert started in 2001, sales.