Downtown Orlando’s Last Fine Jewelry Shop Closes Its Doors

Family-owned Swalstead Jewelers has been in business since 1926

There are several fine jewelry shops in Orlando, Fla., but the last remaining fine jeweler in the downtown area, Swalstead Jewelers, is in the process of closing its doors. 

Owner Elliott Leavitt, 60, told the Orlando Sentinel that he’s winding down the business to retire and spend more time with family—including a grandson in San Francisco. 

The business is also one of Orlando’s oldest. In 1926, founder Hart Swalstead moved his jewelry store from Minot, N.D., to Orlando—and it was bought by Elliott’s father, Jack Leavitt, in 1979

Swalstead joins the rash of long-standing jewelry businesses to shutter this year in the U.S. According to the Jewelry Board of Trade, 276 jewelry businesses in the United States ceased operations in the third quarter of 2015—an increase of 25 percent year-on-year. The 276 shuttered businesses included 237 retail jewelers, 31 wholesale jewelers, and eight jewelry manufacturers. 

A small silver lining to the losses—the number of U.S. companies entering the jewelry market in the third quarter of 2015 also increased by 25 percent. Seventy-four new retailers opened their doors during this time. 

“I’ve been here for more than four decades, and I’m ready to retire,” Leavitt told the Orlando Sentinel. The jeweler, who started working in the store as a teenager, is currently liquidating the shop’s remaining inventory and says he “plans on staying open until all the jewelry is gone.”

(Photo courtesy Orlando Sentinel)


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