Georgia Jeweler Adds Alcohol to Downtown Store



A family-run jewelry store in Athens, Ga., is mixing up its
inventory by adding packaged beer and wine.

William Bailey, co-owner of Athena Jewelers, tells JCK his
store is the only store in downtown Athens to sell packaged beer and wine.

“With the economy being the way it is, we figured if we can
get any revenue at all other than the little bit that was going it, it would be
a good thing,” Bailey says.

The store reorganized its layout to add wine coolers and
beer coolers and carries 30 different types of wine and 25 different types of
beer, including 12 craft beers. Bailey plans to expand the wine selection.

“We cater to the people who are in the hotels and people who
live downtown won’t have to drive anywhere,” he says. “We just figured it’d be
convenient.”

Bailey says the store was one of the only places downtown
that qualified to be zoned for the package license.

The infiltration of packaged beer and wine came at a good
time for the business. Bailey says the downtown area has been slow, especially
during summer months when nearby University of Georgia students are away.

Bailey is also adding handmade chocolates to the store’s
inventory.

“At that point, a man can come in for an anniversary buy
some custom jewelry, some chocolate, and a bottle of wine. It’s all in one
spot,” he says. “And if it’s not an
anniversary, it’s certainly a good way to get out of the doghouse.”

The store opened in 1990 and has thrived off of custom
designs from Bailey’s wife, Dana Lea, and 40 different designers from around the
country. “We do a lot of jewelry repair and custom work,” he says. “That’s been
keeping us in business.”

Bailey thinks the beer and wine will be
good for business. “It will definitely bring more people into the store,” he
says. “Once they’re in the store hopefully they will look at the beautiful
jewelry as well. I think one will complement the other.”