With the building sold, owners are looking for ‘a more friendly environment’ for customers after the holidays.
The owners of Jacobs Jewelers are looking at the recent purchase of The Greenleaf Building as the opportunity to move Jacksonville’s oldest jewelry and fine gifts store to a new location.
“We are relocating out of Downtown to a more friendly environment for our customers,” said Delorise Thomas.
Jacobs Jewelers opened in 1890 along East Bay Street. It rebuilt after the store was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1901 and then installed the Downtown landmark 15-foot-tall, four-sided Seth Thomas clock in front of the store as a symbol of the city’s resilience after the fire.
Thomas and her husband, Roy, bought the business in 1968. Since then, they have opened its doors six days a week to serve customers, some of whom are the fourth generation in their family to shop at Jacobs.
Delorise Thomas said the store, at 204 N. Laura St., will move in 2023 to a location that she declines to identify because the arrangements are in process but not finalized.
“We have plenty of time. We won’t be moving until after Christmas.”
Roy Thomas has long been a critic of Downtown parking, citing how during the week, customers often would have to park several blocks away to shop at the store.
City Council amended regulations in 2007 to lessen restrictions on “meter-feeding.” The change allowed people to leave their vehicle in an on-street parking space after the first time limit expired by adding more coins to the meter.
Thomas said a few weeks later that the change did not help the store’s business.
“We still have customers calling us on their cellphones to tell us they’re driving around looking for a place to park. I don’t see how letting people feed the meters is going to help that,” Thomas said.
In 2015, when the city was considering increasing the on-street meter fee and reducing the time limit at each meter, Thomas was a cautious supporter.
“I don’t think too many people care much about the cost, but they want to be able to find a parking spot near where they want to shop. Turnover is what’s important,” he said.
Delorise Thomas said they have fond memories of being in the 95-year-old historic structure at the corner of Adams and Laura streets for so many years.
“The building is beautiful. We have loved being here and being part of the history of Downtown. We just have to make it friendly for our customers,” she said.
JWB Real Estate Capital President Alex Sifakis said June 17 the company paid $6.25 million for 11 floors of the 12-story building at 208 N. Laura St. and $700,000 for the ninth floor, which was a business condominium.
Sifakis also said JWB will move its corporate headquarters from Deerwood into the building and that he eventually would like to lease space on the ground floor to a restaurant operator.
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