ROCKINGHAM — Helms Jewelers, a downtown mainstay for more than a century, has a new potential buyer.
Helms Jewelers and Life Luxuries, incorporated on Aug. 4, is set to finalize the purchase the building at 211 East Washington Street from Morris by Tuesday of next week. Morris maintained on Friday that “no money has changed hands” as of yet.
Ellyn Brannick, the initial registered agent of the corporation and future manager of the store, has a background in selling estate jewelry and an affinity for history and antiques.
“I plan to continue the store’s more-than-100-year history,” Brannick said.
Helms Jewelers first opened in 1894 and was passed down from generation to generation with only two owners outside of the family.
The latest was Morris who bought the store Oct. 1, 1975. He and his wife, Cynthia ran the shop until their retirement earlier this year.
The store will carry both new jewelry as well as estate jewelry “along the line” of what Morris carried in the store, according to Brannick.
It will also feature fur coats, home decorations and utensils made with purple glass — which Brannick makes herself through a process of exposing certain types of glass to specific light waves that react to change the color.
According to Brannick, the store will keep the same general layout made up of antique showcases from the early 1900s.
“We wanted to keep the name and phone number because that’s the way it’s been for the entire lifetime of everybody who lives in Rockingham,” Brannick said. “We’re trying to maintain what it is that people have had as a choice their whole life.”
Brannick got the idea to buy the store when she was driving through downtown while considering buying another historic Rockingham property: the R.C. Watson House on 526 Caroline Street, otherwise known as the Chalk House.
Having a background in jewelry, Brannick stopped into Helms to take a look around and get to know the city.
“Steve was the first person I met when I was thinking about moving here,” she said. “It’s one of those ‘life is strange’ stories.”
Brannick said the store is scheduled to open on Oct. 26.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674.