For the past 17 years, the Bridgewater location of Roman Jewelers has been crammed inside 1,600 square feet of storefront inside the Bridgewater Commons Mall.
But some time in November, the store will open up across the street, in an almost palatial 5,000-square-foot space.
“We felt kind of sad leaving the mall and closing the store. It's been our home for 17 years,” said Sophie Shor, who owns the business with her husband, Roman, and daughter. “But we're very excited.”
Roman Jewelers is no stranger to growth. The company's Flemington location has expanded twice over the past 25 years and now has more than 8,000 square feet of space.
Each of those past growth spurts has been successful. And Shor said she and her husband are confident this most recent expansion is the right move at the right time.
The decision came about several years ago, when they realized their business was strong, but its growth had stalled.
So she and her husband started paying very close attention to what customers were asking for that they could not offer. They realized their clientele was itching for more brands and different lines of jewelry — additional inventory the mall location just couldn't handle.
That revelation got the conversation going.
“There is no benchmark. There is no light bulb that just goes on in your head,” Shor said. “The business tells you. As a business owner, you will know when it's the right time.”
From there, Shor said it took years to prepare for a possible expansion, both mentally and financially, but also emotionally.
“Expanding the business is not just a matter of finances; it's also an emotional decision,” Shor said. “To leave something that's comfortable to you and to move to a new frontier, that takes an entrepreneurial spirit.”
Shor should know. She and her husband had that spirit when they moved to the U.S. from Belarus in 1980.
“Thirty-three years ago, we felt like it was the right move to come to the United States,” she said. “It was the same emotional process. You have to be ready for that expansion.”
For the Shors, part of that preparation was finding the right real estate investment. The property across from the mall was the home of a AAA travel agency for years. When the jeweler and his wife honed in on that space, the building's owner wasn't interested in selling.
But they were persistent. They called back every year to inquire about the building on Commons Way — until the building's owner finally called them and agreed to sell.
“So we jumped on it. It was an absolutely unique opportunity,” Shor said. “It was just perfect timing. We were ready to move, and they were ready to sell.”
The new space will allow Roman Jewelers to double its staff, add new lines of silver and diamond jewelry to its inventory and grow the repair arm of the business.
“It's a new beginning for us,” Shor said. “It's a great potential to grow the business.”
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