There’s been a jewelry store in the London Jewellers location on Charlotte Street for the past 100 years.
That’s not about to change.
Sydney native Paul Clark has purchased London Jewellers and after a closing out sale is complete, the building will be closed for renovations and is expected to reopen in June as his fourth Inglis Jewellers location.
Clark wasn't interested in any other location.
“There’s 100 years of jewelry stores here and I’m going to make sure that continues,” said Clark, who now lives in Truro. “I wasn’t going to tempt fate.”
Clark lived in the Grand Lake Road area until the age of five when his family moved to Truro, but his roots remain on the island.
“I have lots of family here, this feels like home,” he said.
Inglis Jewellers was founded in 1991 by Clark’s former business partner and was named Inglis because it was located at Inglis Place, Truro. Clark joined the business in 1997.
Over the years Inglis Jewellers stores were opened in New Glasgow and Riverview, N.B., but Clark always wanted a store in Sydney.
In fact over the last 10-15 years whenever he was in Cape Breton Clark would stop in and chat with the owners of London Jewellers — Joan and Ray Johnston — to see if they wanted to sell the business.
Last summer, the Johnstons approached Clark and the sale was worked out.
“They’ve been absolutely honourable and straightforward and wonderful to deal with,” Clark said of the Johnstons.
Earlier stores in the same location included Lighters Jewellers, followed by Brown’s Jewellers. London Jewellers has been in the location for the last 42 years and its closing out sale will continue until Dec. 24.
The new Sydney store will follow the Inglis Jewellers store theme.
“It’s going to be a pleasure to come in here,” Clark said.
Inglis Jewellers specializes in diamonds, the diamond trade accounts for about 70 per cent of its business.
Clark said London Jewellers has fine, good quality diamonds but Inglis Jewellers will be carrying some higher-end fashion lines, like Elle, Bronze Allure, Myka. They will carry the traditional watch lines, Bulova, Citizen, Movado, and a large selection of diamonds.
Trends constantly change but Clark said diamonds are a mainstay.
“It’s the fashion that comes and goes,” he said. “People are always getting engaged and having anniversaries, birthdays and Christmas. That’s always happening so diamonds are always a constant in the industry.”
Inglis Jewellers will also offer fashion jewelry and giftware.
What makes their company stand out? Clark said, "Our people."
“It’s their friendliness, professionalism, empathy,” he said. “Our people are the reason Inglis Jewellers is what we are. I’m just very happy and proud of the team that we have. We like to have fun. We don’t put on airs, we’re real people, we’re authentic.”
Clark said he is pleased to say the London Jewellers staff of six will be staying with Inglis.
Clark has relocated to Cape Breton for three months for the closing out sale.
”We won’t be going lower than 50 per cent but right now we’re blowing it out the doors.”
The previous owners Joan and Ray Johnston are out of the country and couldn’t be reached for comment.
Paula Dell, a sale representative at London Jewellers for 16 years, said she’s happy to be coming back to work for the new company.
“It’s a stepping stone towards something, a new goal in the jewelry business.”
Dell said the previous owners had the business for 40-plus years and have decided to retire.
“I understand that, after all those years giving excellent service to the community,” she said.
A lot of customers coming in now have heard the news and are sharing stories, reflecting on their memories with London Jewellers over the years.
“They’ll say, ‘This is where my husband bought my diamond 40 or 30 years ago.' They have a sentimental feeling for London Jewellers.”
Although sad to see it closing, their customers understand, she added.
“They understand that over 41 years, the Johnstons wanted to retire.”
Julia Jackson of Sydney has worked at London Jewellers for 17 years and is currently the manager. After 17 years, it is a big change to see it close and a new store opening in its place.
“I’m looking forward to working for Inglis Jewellers and it’s going to be wonderful to see the store renovated.”
Jackson said the new owner knows many people in the area and several customers have said they are familiar with Inglis Jewellers.
Jackson admits she is looking forward to the winter break and is excited about the future reopening.
Longtime customer Mary Dobson stopped by the store last week and said she has always loved London Jewellers.
“I always visited London Jewellers, I could always find things at the jewelry store that I loved and purchased.”
Dobson said she was disappointed to hear London Jewellers was closing.
“I liked the choices I had, all kinds of different things.”
However, Dobson said she is looking forward to seeing what Inglis Jewellers brings in. She’s also happy the staff is staying.
“The staff are very welcoming,” she said. “I could always come in here and even if I didn’t purchase anything, it was still always fun to come in and look. I always enjoyed that.”
Once she purchased a gold band with stones.
“My daughter loved it so much I came back and bought another one for her.”