JRobert’s takes a shine to former jewelry store
Considering it somewhat of a diamond in the rough, the owners of Beard's Jewelry of Fleming Island are moving into the former Beard's Jewelry store in San Marco.
It's sort of a homecoming.
Jacksonville-based Beard's Jewelry had operated at the 3200 Hendricks Ave. location since 1981, before moving to the St. Johns Town Center in 2010.
Beard's Jewelry opened a Fleming Island store in Clay County in 2008. Bobby Wallo and a business partner bought that store in 2009. He said when the lease was up, he looked for another location.
"We found this was still available and we were shocked," Wallo said Thursday at the store, which was busy with cases being installed and cleaned, awnings being hung and furniture being moved.
Wallo said the newly named JRobert's Fine Jewelry should open Sept. 9.
The name stands for Wallo, whose name is Robert, and the J is for Joe Espinosa, the bench jeweler who owns a piece of the business. The name changed because of an agreement with Beard's that the name not be used in Duval County.
Wallo said the full-service store will focus on the bridal business, which means diamonds, as well as colored gems, other fine jewelry, a watch line and a line of fine-writing instruments.
He said it also will offer Counter Sketch, which allows customers to design jewelry to their specifications.
The hours are expected to be 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. The store has six employees.
Wallo, who was a partner in RickJohn Inc. construction before buying Beard's of Fleming Island, estimated an investment of $100,000 in preparing the 4,000-square-foot store for business.
The Beard's Jewelry of Fleming Island website tells the story of Wallo and Richard Gammiere buying that location in 2009, having been business partners and entrepreneurs for more than 30 years in service industries along the East Coast.
The San Marco building, near Metro Diner, is owned by Saleebas 3200 Hendricks Avenue LLC. It was built in 1956, according to Duval County property records.
Wallo said he wants to be part of the continuing revitalization of San Marco. He appreciates the visibility along Hendricks Avenue and "neighborhood feel."
He said the feedback has been positive from residents who say the building "has always been a jewelry store."