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Liam Barnett runs the Barnett Jewelers store that opened Friday in the River City Marketplace in North Jacksonville. The family-owned business operates its flagship store in the Wells Fargo Center Downtown.
Photo by Karen Brune Mathis
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Barnett Jewelers expands from Downtown, opens in River City Marketplace

by Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

Barnett Jewelers, a Jacksonville based company that began in 1917 and operates Downtown in the Wells Fargo Center, has opened a second location at the River City Marketplace in North Jacksonville.

The store opened Friday and is run by Liam Barnett, who represents the fourth generation of the family business. He is the son of third-generation owner Bill Barnett.

Liam Barnett said the family considered the growth in North Jacksonville when choosing the site.

"It was a good idea," he said of the location.

"There are so many great neighborhoods and so many people. It seems to be a great destination from Nassau County and surrounding counties and I've had customers from Georgia," he said.

Barnett said the family looked around the area and came close to opening in Mandarin and in Nassau County, but those locations didn't work out.

"This had been my first choice. Both of those fell through. Right when we were going to say, 'what's next?' we got a call to say a space was available. We jumped at it," he said.

Barnett said the store has several employees, including family members who work at both locations.

Barnett said his wife, Megan, helped set up the shop. They are raising the fifth generation – 11-year-old Barrett and 11-month-old Will.

Bill Barnett, the grandson of founder W.G. Ferrell, has been president of Barnett Jewelers since 1984. He runs the business with his sister, Susan Ricke, and his sons Liam and Oscar.

Ferrell started selling jewelry door-to-door 95 years ago in Jacksonville. The company's website, barnettjewelers.com, said Ferrell became known as the jeweler who would "go the distance" for his customers' needs and "to creatively help them find what they were looking for."

Liam Barnett said Oscar Barnett married Ferrell's daughter, Irma. Ferrell and Barnett ended up in business together.

"It's pretty much a direct line," Liam Barnett said.

Oscar and Irma's son, Bill, the current president, is William Gordon Barnett. Liam is William Allan and Will is William Stanley.

Ricke said in the 1980s, the company had five locations, consisting of three on the Downtown Northbank, one on the Downtown Southbank and one in Mandarin. The Wells Fargo Center store opened in 1976 in what was then known as the Independent Life Building.

Ricke said the company also leased the fine jewelry departments in the Furchgott's department stores.

By the early 1990s, the family returned to operating one store and settled on the Wells Fargo Center location.

Barnett Jewelers opened in the River City Marketplace at 13249 City Square Drive, Suite 115. It leases about 1,600 square feet of space. Store hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday, although hours might be extended for the holidays.

The Wells Fargo Center store is in Suite 102 at 1 Independent Drive. Store hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. The store also will be open through the holidays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Saturdays and noon-4 pm. Sundays.

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