BELLINGHAM - A longtime local jewelry store is beginning a closing business sale this week.
G.B. Heron owner Pam Hunnicutt announced in a letter to her regular customers that she is planning to close the store after more than 30 years in business. The store will host a two-day private sale Tuesday and Wednesday, April 23 and 24, for those who have a written invitation.
The store then will be open to the general public starting at 9:30 a.m. Thursday and keep regular hours until the inventory has been sold, said Hunnicutt's husband, Larry Feeney. The inventory includes diamonds, precious and semi-precious gemstones as well as gold and platinum jewelry.
The store opened 31 years ago, becoming a key downtown tenant on the corner of Cornwall Avenue and Holly Street. Through the years it has regularly landed on lists of best local jewelry stores, as well as being named as a top 50 jewelry designer in the U.S.
Feeney, speaking for Hunnicutt on Monday while she was making final preparations for the store sale, said her plan is to scale back by closing the retail store to spend more time with family. He noted that the business is a key part of her life and that the toughest part for her will be not seeing the customers regularly.
"She's now selling wedding sets to children of regular customers," Feeney said. "It is emotional for her."
Feeney said Hunnicutt is known for being a perfectionist when it comes to selecting jewelry. He remembers a time at a trade show when she went through 500 sapphire stones before picking the best one.
G.B. Heron is the second longtime independent jewelry store to close in Bellingham in the past four months. MJB Jewelers, which had been around for 40 years, closed in December.
Feeney doesn't think that indicates a trend.
"There's always a need for the services a jeweler provides, such as resizing a ring," Feeney said, noting that it could mean an opportunity for others to enter the market.