Longtime Chapel Hill jeweler loses lease, going out of business

Grimball Jewelers, located at 79 S. Elliot Road in Chapel Hill, will go out of business at the end of December.
Grimball Jewelers, located at 79 S. Elliot Road in Chapel Hill, will go out of business at the end of December. The News & Observer

Grimball Jewelers, which has sold and made jewelery in the Chapel Hill area since 1985, is going out of business.

The company’s last day of business will be Dec. 28, and it will hold a going-out-of-business sale starting Thursday, Nov. 16.

Owner Berkeley Grimball said the store’s landlord declined to renew its lease, and that he was forced to decide between moving or closing.

“It has been the most difficult decision of my life, each option with huge upsides and downsides,” he said in a Facebook post. “I would go to bed having decided on one and wake up in the middle of the night deciding on the other, often paralyzed with fear and anxiety over making the wrong decision.

“But I have decided to close.”

“It has been the most difficult decision of my life,” says store owner Berkeley Grimball. courtesy of Berkely Grimball

Grimball is located at 79 S. Elliott Road near Whole Foods in the Village Plaza shopping center, which is owned by the landlord Regency Centers.

“We are grateful for Grimball’s longstanding tenancy in Village Plaza, and we wish him the best in the future,” said Paul Muñana, a senior manager of Regency Centers.

Village Plaza is part of the Ephesus-Fordham district, a 190-acre district where the town wants to encourage redevelopment. Construction in the district that meets establishsed guidelines is not subject to Town Council votes or public hearings.

Regency Centers, along with several other developers, have attempted to rebrand the district as the Blue Hill District, part of an ongoing effort to make the area a commercial and residential destination.

Developers have put more than $125 million into new development in the Blue Hill District in the past three years, which now has more than 35 retail shops and 20 restaurants, businesses and apartments. A number of longtime tenants have also moved from the area or closed since the Blue Hill District was announced, including VIP Print and Signs, Village Plaza Dry Cleaners and The Children’s Store.

Jay Kanik of Regency Centers told The Herald-Sun earlier this year that the landlord plans to renovate the shopping center to match the changing commercial focus of the district.

The Blue Hill District “is going to bring a lot more of this kind of entertainment lifestyle and activity,” Kanik said earlier this year. “The PTA Thrift Shop, the Print Shop and the old dry cleaner that was there for generations, it’s all legacy stuff and there’s a time and place for that, but with this evolution there’s going to be a lot more energy.”

Zachery Eanes: 919-419-6684, @zeanes