Carroll's spawns new jewelry store on Fourth Avenue
Retail Report: Former manager at Carroll's Fine Jewelry opens a store across the street inside the Fourth and Pike Building.
Seattle Times business reporters
Inside downtown Seattle's Fourth and Pike Building, Lisa Esztergalyos sells one-of-a-kind rings, necklaces, earrings and brooches from a tiny rectangular shop decorated to resemble a Venetian jewelry box.
"So this is it," Esztergalyos (pronounced Ester-gal-ee-ohs) says proudly, standing amid bronze-colored walls and matching brocade drapes that contrast with the hustle and bustle outside. Visitors are urged to take a seat on one of three antique upholstered chairs and help themselves to home-baked cookies.
Esztergalyos, 39, was manager of Carroll's Fine Jewelry in the Joshua Green Building across the street when the Carroll family decided to close the 113-year-old store last spring.
A major renovation of the Joshua Green Building prompted the closure, and the family chose not to reopen elsewhere.
"When my husband and I found out Carroll's would be closing, he said, 'Well, what other jewelry store would you like to work for?' " Esztergalyos recalls. "I was spoiled at Carroll's. I thought, 'I don't want to work for anyone else.' The relationships I had with all my co-workers — it's been a transition to not have them around. But every week I get visits from the ladies, so that's been great."
Her namesake Lisa Esztergalyos Jeweler store takes up all of 100 square feet previously occupied by a perfume shop in the Fourth and Pike Building's first-floor lobby. Jewelry-related businesses occupy many of the building's offices in a part of downtown known as the Diamond District.
Esztergalyos, who has seen the economy go from bad to worse since opening May 1, said she resisted the temptation to make the store "look just so" with more merchandise than could be sold in a tough environment. And fortunately, she says, she does other things besides sell jewelry.
"I'm doing a lot of maintenance and restoration work on customers' heirlooms. I see more of that than actual purchasing of new jewelry," says Esztergalyos, whose credentials include graduate gemologist, through the Gemological Institute of America, and certified gemologist appraiser from the American Gem Society. (She also has a bachelor's in art history from the University of Washington.)
Glass display cases feature an eclectic selection of jewelry with prices ranging from $45 for a sterling-silver bracelet charm to $5,250 for a brown zircon ring. "I figure I'm in a great position, because I love what I do, and I'm happy to be here," she says.
Some of her customers from Carroll's have followed her to the new store. Nancy Kazanjian, who lived in downtown Seattle before moving to California in 2007, became a fan when Esztergalyos helped her buy an "exceptional" brooch at Carroll's several years ago.
"I think Lisa will be a jeweler I'll depend on for the rest of my life," Kazanjian says. "My greatest concern for her is she doesn't have the fancy shop that Carroll's had.
"The shop is petite, but it's not symbolic of all that she's capable of," Kazanjian adds. "I know she can compete."
— Amy MartinezTidbits
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Retail Report appears Fridays. Melissa Allison covers the food and beverage industry. She can be reached at 206-464-3312 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Amy Martinez covers goods, services and online retail. She can be reached at 206-464-2923 or email@example.com
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