A popular and unique small business is closing its doors, the Garden of Gems.
This one-of-a-kind business, one that provides custom care and service has been challenged in today’s business environment.
Lee Ann Miller and her daughter Amber have offered their unique brand of service for the last 18 years, but sadly they have been pushed out.
The Garden of Gems was previously located at the corner of San Pablo Avenue and Tennent, (for seven years) where Tina’s Cafe is currently located.
The landlord raised the rent and Lee Ann was forced to relocate to its current location at 2235 San Pablo Avenue.
In spite of the lack of parking at the newer location Lee Ann had been able to maintain a loyal following and customer base, even during the Great Recession.
I asked Lee Ann why she has decided to close the store.
“Our revenue is down 46% and there is not enough sustainable business.”
“Customers are buying jewelry from places such as Costco, but when they need a ring sized or anything custom done, they can’t get that from places such as Costco, there is no customer contact or custom services.”
“In addition Costco doesn’t need to maintain inventory as we do, so their overhead is lower.”
Lee Ann says that most of her business comes from repairs, repeat customers and word of mouth.
I asked Lee Ann to speak directly to her customers:
“We are so grateful for all the years of support and appreciate, above all, the relationships we’ve made and maintained.”
“As a matter of fact, I met my husband here, he was a customer, as was my sister-in-law.”
“After 18 years in business we have decided to close our doors. We realize we can no longer survive these tough economic times. Our mission has always been to service the needs of the community by providing unique quality jewelry at a good value. We are proud of the reputation we have earned as your local jeweler. We are honored that you have allowed us to be a part of many of your lives and special events.”
Lee Ann laments the fact that customers are wondering where they can go to take care of their needs and they wonder who they can trust, the way they trust Lee Ann.
But, the good news is, that her daughter Amber, will remain in Pinole, and has secured a location on Quinan Street where she will continue her mother’s business, although on a smaller scale. So the Garden of Gems will live on.
Amber will provide repairs and other custom services and sales.
I will update this article when Amber is ready to open her doors.
I asked Lee Ann what her plans were and where she was going.
Lee Ann and her husband David are heading north to Oregon.
They aren’t exactly ready to retire, just ready to explore other possibilities and forge new adventures.
I have had the distinct pleasure of knowing and working with Lee Ann, she has been a great supporter of the Pinole Chamber of Commerce and has generously contributed her time, and talent to our many events, especially the Annual Awards Dinner.
She also has always generously donated items for Chamber raffles as well as for other local organizations.
Thank you Lee Ann for being such a wonderful person and business owner. You will be missed.
Thank you for everything you have done for this community.
Before Lee Ann heads north, be sure to go by and say thank you.
There is a Going Out of Business Sale taking place with discounts of 20-60%
The Garden Of Gems
2235 San Pablo Avenue
Pinole, Ca. 94564
Tues-Fri 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM
Saturday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM