ROCKINGHAM — The tradition of Helms Jewelers was officially passed on to its third owner outside of the Helms family late Monday afternoon, 123 years after its birth in the city.
Ellyn Brannick, president of the newly minted corporation Helms Jewelers and Life Luxuries, LTD, will manage the store, located at 211 East Washington Street downtown. Brannick met with Mayor Steven Morris and his wife, Cynthia, Monday to finalize the sale.
“Everyone was happy that the tradition will be continued,” Brannick said in a text. “I’m excited to get everything ready and looking forward to meeting all the Helms shoppers and offering the great products and service that they are used to finding at Helms.”
The store is scheduled to re-open on Oct. 26.
Morris retired in February after operating the store for a little more than 41 years, saying at the time that, after discussing it with his wife, “it just came upon me that it was time to retire.”
On Friday, Morris was still wary of stating with any certainty that the sale would go through, having had other buyers back out previously.
Brannick, who has lived in Rockingham for 12 years, said she has always had a passion for history and antiques. This led her to purchase the historic Chalk House at 526 Caroline Street in Rockingham, both to live in and to convert into an antique shop. It was on the same trip to make that purchase that she stopped into Helms Jewelers to get to know the city a little better.
There she met Morris, who she said was the first person she met in Rockingham.
“It’s one of those ‘life is strange’ moments,” Brannick said.
Brannick has a background in estate jewelry, and plans to make this more of a focus in the store, in addition to new jewelry. Other changes in the store will be fur coats and items made with Brannick’s own purple glass, which she makes herself by exposing glass with a specific mineral make-up to the right light waves, causing it to change color.
Once opened, the store’s operating hours will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Helms will be closed on Sunday and Monday.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674.