When Fawn Jewelers, on Washington Valley Road, closed in March, owners Darrell and Nancy Leger thought they might have to head out of Bridgewater to reopen their store—little did they know they would open only a few blocks away.
In July, the Legers opened The Jewelry Store at Martinsville, also on Washington Valley Road, and held the grand opening beginning Thursday.
"We never expected to be able to stay in Martinsville," Darrell Leger said.
Originally, Leger said, the couple was forced to close down Fawn Jewelers because the rent was too high. He said they were planning to reopen the store, but they figured they would not find a place in Martinsville, and they started looking everywhere from Bedminster to Berkeley Heights.
And then a children's consignment shop, just a few blocks down from the jewelry store's original location, closed its doors, and put the shop on the market.
"We liked the spot," Leger said of the individual building, citing that they are no longer in the middle of a strip mall.
"It is more of a boutique style, more personal as our own store front," he said. "We were a destination, and we love this spot."
During the time they were closed, Leger said, he felt guilty because people he knew from the former business would approach him and his wife, asking them to fix jewelry. But at the time, he said, there was no place to fix it.
"I went grocery shopping, and people would hand me jewelry to fix," he said. "I felt guilty. I felt good they were asking, but bad that we were not open."
So when they found the new storefront, Leger said, they opened a mere four months later, in July, so they could give the customers the service they were looking for.
Leger said they held off on the grand opening until they knew more people would be around during the fall months.
"So this grand opening is our first advertisement so people know we're open," he said.
And with the new spot, Leger said, came a new business model to create something that is really three stores in one—fine jewelry, a complete repair department and fashion jewelry.
"It has three separate sections," he said. "We are gearing this store to what customers want."
There is a complete repair shop in the basement of the store, Leger said, where their jewelry repairman can have his own space to do his work. Plus, he said, there is space for his wife to work on her custom designs.
Prices in the store, Leger said, range from $3 to $50,000, depending on the type of items customers are interested in, and they tend to gravitate toward whichever section of the store they prefer.
"Some customers only go to the back room [with the fashion jewelry], some come to the front [for fine jewelry] and some go to both," he said. "It is like three separate stores in one."
"But the goal is to give customers the best prices," he added. "No one can touch my prices."
And because of the lowered overhead costs in the new building, Leger said, he can charge lower prices for jewelry, thereby pleasing the customers.
Pleasing the customers, Leger said, is what his business is all about.
"There is no pressure, and no one is paid on commission," he said. "The most important thing to me is customer service. We are sticklers on that."
Leger said they offer runway-style jewelry, with sterling silver, 14kt gold and everything in between.
"We realized jewelry goes stale, and we don't like that," he said. "We have brand new items, and we do a big turnover because we want fresh and new merchandise."
Leger said they try to live up to their slogan: "Unique Meets Chic at the Right Price."
In addition, Leger said, they will have vendors coming in to sell their unique wares at special times of the year, including Christmas, Mother's Day and other holidays.
"We will contact our customers that a vendor is coming," he said. "We still have merchandise, but the vendor brings things you wouldn't normally get in the store."
All in all, Leger said, the store is not a name-brand kind of place, but is just looking for the best items for the customers.
"We have quality jewelry at a great price," he said. "When I buy jewelry, I look at it from the customer perspective. I am like your personal shopper in jewelry."
As for the store's name change, Leger said, they decided to go with a more broad-based name because they are selling three different types of services.
"It sounds expensive, but we're not, so we're trying to reach a wide range of customers," he said.
Most importantly, Leger said, they are excited to remain in Martinsville.
"We really felt like part of the community, and we didn't want to close," he said. "We took a gamble and it paid off."
"I love it here," he added, "and it makes me feel happy to stay."