K-A-R-E-L-I-S, Karelis, Karelis Jewelers Time is … Up

Preparing for demolition, the former Karelis Jewelers sign at 70 Merrimack St., made a brief return in recent weeks. (WHAV News photograph.)

For years, parents rushed their children to the bus stop after hearing it. Workers grabbed their lunches and headed to the door after listening.

What they heard was the top of the hour time over WHAV, sponsored by Karelis Jewelers, 70 Merrimack St., Haverhill.

“Karelis Jewelers time is now ___o’clock. K-A-R-E-L-I-S, Karelis, Karelis Jewelers in downtown Haverhill,” every WHAV announcer read at one time or another for more than a decade. The jewelry store, operated for many years by Irving P. “Sheik” Karelis, had been almost forgotten. That is, until work on the next phase of downtown’s Harbor Place project uncovered the old Karelis building sign.

Until recently, the building had been occupied by Angel Care Kids Therapy Center. The business has since moved to the former Smiley School on Main Street, purchased from the city for $187,500.

Merrimack Street Acquisition, a consortium involving the Greater Haverhill Foundation and the Boston Archdiocese’s Planning Office for Urban Affairs, purchased the building last January for $431,250. It also closed in March on the purchase of the building housing Lahey Behavioral Health Services, 60 Merrimack St., for just under $2.5 million.

In what is being called “Harbor Place Phase II,” a mix of commercial space and up to 35 market rate housing units is proposed to replace the buildings on Merrimack Street.