Stewart Jewelry, a landmark business in the College Park business district, is closing, but it’s not because of the economic havoc caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead, its second-generation owner, Phyllis Stewart-Tuell, is retiring after accepting an offer for the building.
“The party had to end sometime,’’ said Stewart-Tuell, who will turn 70 in April. “My mother always told me, ‘Do what you can when you can.’’’
She said she couldn’t disclose the price for the property because the deal had yet to close, but that the new owner would honor the leases of the surrounding businesses.
Stewart Jewelry, at 2212 Edgewater Drive in the Orlando neighborhood, debuted in 1946 with Stewart-Tuell’s parents, Burnett and Edith Stewart, at the helm. Stewart-Tuell started working at the small shop in 1977.
The store features a signature neon sign that Stewart-Tuell said she hoped could be preserved by the Orange County History Museum or some other organization.
Having a business in the same place for 74 years has meant serving older residents, their children, and, of late, their grandchildren, she said.
“Everyone is asking, ‘why are you leaving?’’’ she said. “It’s just bittersweet.”
On the store’s Facebook page, one longtime customer wrote, “Almost every piece of jewelry on my body and in my jewelry box are from your store. I have always been confident that it would be everlasting and it has been, and I will hand the jewelry down to my grandchildren.”
The pandemic initially did hurt the store’s sales, she said, but after cutting back on hours, receipts essentially returned to normal.
The store has started an “everything must go” sale with 30%-60% off its entire inventory.
Stewart-Tuell said she expected Stewart Jewelry to be open until at least the end of the year but perhaps into spring.
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