After over 25 years in business, Village Jewelry in Kannapolis, N.C., will close this year. After learning their building had been bought out by an oil company, owners Mike Gibbs and Lou Fennell decided that rather than relocate, they’d close their shop.
Gibbs, 52, began his career as a college intern, turning his apprenticeship at a jewelry store into a full-time job after graduation.
After working as a wholesale jewelry salesman, Fennell, 64, followed in his father’s entrepreneurial footsteps and opened Village Jewelry in Kannapolis in 1985. Gibbs became his business partner in 1989 and the pair soon relocated the shop to the Cloverleaf Shopping Center.
Gibbs looks back on his time at Village with fondness. “It was fun coming into work every day. The first employee I ever hired in 1985 is still here,” he says.
He credits the store’s success to his partnership with Fennell as well as with his relationship to the community. “So many of our customers have turned into friends,” he says. “Hundreds of clients have come in tell us how much they trusted our business.”
While Fennell plans on retiring after the store’s summer closing, Gibbs says he’s not ready to leave the industry just yet: “I will be continuing on in some form or fashion.”