Continental Jewelry in Tampa, Fla., is set to close its doors this May.
Established 30 years ago in an office building by two brothers, the retail store grew to become one of the largest freestanding jewelry stores in the Tampa Bay area. At one time, Continental even boasted the largest selection of loose diamonds in the region.
The store’s closing reflects the diminishing economy of its region. “Tampa is in the bottom quarter of the economy,” says Stevan Buxbaum, president of Buxbaum Jewelry Advisors, the firm conducting the sale. “Unlike some other American cities, it’s not home to big businesses, but instead represents retirement life and vacation spots.”
Customers can now purchase items at 60–80 percent off original prices because of a court-ordered liquidation sale. The store’s entire inventory—including rings, necklaces, pendants, bracelets, diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds—must be sold by its springtime closing.
Continental is the second jewelry superstore in the Tampa area to go out of business recently (AvantGold Jewelers also closed). “Diamonds and bridal wear are the backbone to the jewelry business,” says Buxbaum. “It’s disappointing when a store that specializes in this type of jewelry closes because it says a lot about the dwindling industry.”