Nearly every day for more than 20 years, John Tessman and his wife, Jerry, unlocked the door of their downtown jewelry store with their Maltese Bobo at their sides.
Beginning March 3, the three will move the morning routine of opening the doors of Dayle May Jewelers across the river to the North Shore, more specifically, at Two North Shore on Manufacturers Road.
Moving the jewelry store away from the 8th Street building where it has been housed for 86 years was a scary decision for the owners, but one that had become increasingly necessary over the years, Mr. Tessman said.
“Retailing downtown is pretty much a thing of the past,” he said, referring to the store’s location in the central business district. “(Two North Shore) is a more viable retail environment.”
Staff Photos by Meghan Brown-- David Tessmann moves a glass countertop from a jewelry display case at Dayle May Jewelers on Eighth Street. The case has been in use since the store opened in 1922 and will be moved to the store’s new location.
The new location of Dayle May Jewelers will face Manufacturers Road and will have 375 free parking spaces, something Mr. Tessman and his wife said they are particularly happy about it. The closest parking spaces for the existing store are metered spaces along 8th Street between Market and Broad.
Mrs. Tessman said she recalls having frustrated customers call her after circling the block and unable to find a space, ultimately deciding to just go home and not come into the store. That scenario played out a couple of times a week, she said. Overall though, both Mr. and Mrs. Tessman loved the Eighth Street location, but they said moving makes good business sense.
“It’s a big change, but I am truly looking forward to making a move,” she said. “I think it is what we need to do.”
In its new location on the North Shore, the jewelry store will double its size from about 1,200 square feet to more than 2,500 square feet by moving to Two North Shore. When the store opens at its new site, the couple’s son, David,, 43, will join the staff and work on tapping into what appeals to the younger generation of jewelry shoppers, the elder Mr. Tessman said.
“One of the things we are going to need to do is try to find out what the younger generation is interested in,” he said. “Our primary clientele has been 40, 50 and up.”
The Tessmans bought the store in 1987 from Dayle May. The store originally had been called Templeton’s, and was started in 1922 by Ira Templeton. Mr. May bought the store from the Templetons in 1958 and changed the name. Mr. Tessman said he and his wife decided to keep the Dayle May name.
“It’s a good name and it had a good reputation,” he said.
David Tessman joked that he would do whatever his parents told him to do, but acknowledged that his involvement and the move would breathe life into the business.
David Tessman said the clients of Dayle May have been patrons for much of their lives. Many of the store’s longtime customers already have visited the jeweler’s future site, the senior Mr. Tessman said, and the feedback he has gotten has given him reason to believe the store has a good future.
“We are bringing our son into the business and we have a granddaughter, Mary Lillian, who is 10 and a 5-year-old grandson, and I think it will be up to them to see if they want to continue the store for the next 80 years,” he said.