London's moves jewel counter, adjusts name

London's moves jewel counter, adjusts name

November 21st, 2009 by Amy Williams in Business Around the Region

Staff Photo by Angela Lewis Charlie Striewski works in Sam Edwards Jewelry Store, which will open at the end of the month at Hamilton Corners on Gunbarrel Road.

Sam Edwards learned just about everything he knows about the jewelry business from his grandfather, the late Sam Edwards.

So when Mr. Edwards moved his jewelry store, London's Jewelers, he decided to name the new store after his grandfather and namesake and call it Sam Edwards Jewelers.

"He was my mentor, and he's the reason I am in this business," he said.

London's Jewelers, which Mr. Edwards bought in January 2008, closed Friday in London Center on Lee Highway. It will reopen next week at the new location in Hamilton Corner shopping center on Gunbarrel Road near Hamilton Place mall. The site was the former location of Liz Claiborne Shoes.

The new site will give the store much more visibility to customers who travel along Gunbarrel Road. Though it is a few hundred square feet smaller than the London Center location, Mr. Edwards said the store will be more efficient than the previous location's 3,300 square feet.

Mr. Edwards declined to say how much he spent turning the old shoe store into his new Sam Edwards Jewelers, but he termed it a significant investment.

Veronica Coyle will manage the new Sam Edwards Jewelers and Wes Gilliland will work as an adviser and manage the store's operations. Both Ms. Coyle and Mr. Gilliland had previously worked at the W Gallery in downtown Chattanooga until it closed earlier this year.

Ms. Coyle is working to hire staff and manage the store's inventory, and she is excited at the prospect of being a part of the store from Day 1.

"It's actually been great," she said of the process. "It gives you a sense of really being a part of it."

Mr. Edwards bought London's from Danny Proctor when he retired. Mr. Proctor had owned the store for over 20 years. He opened London's in 1986 along with the late Scott Pruitt. The business was initially at Fountain Plaza on Shallowford Road, but in 1997 moved to its spot on Lee Highway.

Mr. Edwards said his wife, Rhoda, encouraged him to go through with moving the store, even when he had his doubts.

"I am a very cautious person, but the biggest risk is not taking one," he said.