Jersey Stores

In the late 1880s, two Swiss brothers—Alphonse and Leon de la Reussille, both trained watchmakers—opened jewelry stores in New Jersey. Forty years later, Alphonse sold his business, Reussille's Jewelry in Freehold, N.J., to the Ballew family, while Leon continued to operate his business in Red Bank, N.J. According to Jim Ballew (now semi-retired), son of the original ower, his father was a watchmaker. In the early 1920s, the grandmother and grandfather of present-day president and owner John Ballew renamed the store Ballew's Jewelers. But when Jim was just two years old and an older sister was five, their father vanished … and so did the watchmaking tools. So their mother quit her job as a high-school principal—"not a high-end job at that time, even though she had a master's degree from Columbia," John Ballew notes—to run the store. John recalls stories about the competit

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