Bill French Jewelers is a gem in itself.
The hometown business recently moved into a new, bigger space to show off its many facets.
“We were looking to have more stores around us to increase our customer traffic,” said owner Bill French, a bench jeweler with 25 years experience.
The store is at 232 Robert Griffin Blvd., suite 500, in the Five Hills shopping center.
Nestled between Ross Dress for Less and Bealls, the 2,500-square-foot space is decked out in a modern style.
The decor is minimal, elegant and tasteful with contemporary touches, such as Terra Fresca finish on the walls and gold metal light scones hanging from the ceiling.
Many of the wood and glass cases came from the previous location, with some new ones added.
“We got a shell and put in everything,” French said.
Local companies performed all the work, includingRandy White of MWR Concepts General Contractor, Artie’s Heating & Air, Owens Electric and Crawford Plumbing.
Working with the city’s departments was a quick process, said Jean French, business manager.
“We felt like they expedited some things and we weren’t held up for permits,” Jean French said.
The original store at 2126 E. Business U.S. Highway 190 was home for 11 years.
A remodel and expansion of that location took place in 2012, increasing the size to 1,800 square feet.
Normally, business owners look for a new location, but this space found them, French said.
Representatives of Endeavor Real Estate approached them in 2016 with an available space in the H-E-B shopping area, but they declined.
Early in 2017, the company returned offering them the current spot.
“They wanted a jeweler here and if we didn’t take it, another jeweler might,” French said.
A seven-year lease keeps the store in the bustling shopping center.
Although the rent is higher, the greater visibility resulted in about a 15 percent sales increase during the 2017 holidays.
“We’re seeing a lot of new faces,” said Jean French.
The store also employs four others, including Charlotte Harness, a certified gemologist, who does repair work on-site.
Shaun Sprague is manager and Liz Epps is assistant manager.
What has not changed with the move is the quality of the customer service and merchandise. Bill French Jewelers is well known for carrying unique hand-carved pearls with diamonds inside, and many Melodies in Motion clocks line the walls.
Bridal sets, fashion jewelry, watches, gemstones and diamonds are available, along with free jewelry inspection.
Valentine’s Day special
A Valentine’s Day special consists of a real rose dipped in 24K gold and enameled in different colors, a box of chocolate and a piece of jewelry for $99.
The move came at the right time for the family-owned jewelry store that continues to do business the old-fashioned way.
“Every customer is extremely important to us,” said French.