The highly regarded AGS store is shutting after 80 years
North Little Rock, Ark.–based Stanley Jewelers Gemologist, a highly regarded American Gem Society store that made headlines last year with a live in-store diamond cutting, is closing after 80 years, says vice president Laura Stanley (pictured).
Stanley says the closure was spurred by the retirement of her father, Loyd. And while the ranks of independent jewelers have been shrinking of late, Stanley says her decision was spurred by personal, rather than financial, reasons.
“Our business has been very good,” she says, “and we are a very traditional jewelry store. But when thinking of taking over this place and running it, and getting more physically bound to it, that was the majority of my decision. I need a little more flexibility.”
Stanley will now become a personal jeweler, working by appointment and referral, specializing in memo and custom jewelry.
“I want to do custom work and appraisals, which is the stuff I mostly enjoyed,” she says. “I can set my own hours.”
The store was known for being active in industry affairs: Stanley served on the boards of the American Gem Society and Jewelers for Children. She plans to keep up all those professional affiliations.
The reaction from the local community has been “absolute shock,” she says.
“No one saw this coming,” she says. “The phone has been ringing, and people say: Is this a mistake? Is this a joke? They are beside themselves. Which is nice. They are going to miss it.
“It’s sad on one level,” she adds. “It’s the end of the era, it’s 80 years. But I am looking forward to change.”
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