BRANDON — The 24 karat solid gold, diamond encrusted baton has officially been passed at one of Brandon's oldest businesses.
As of Feb. 1, McAuley Fine Jewelry has taken over what stood as Martin's Jewelers from 1954 to 2017.
It's something new owner, Ed McAuley, said he planned since he left the insurance industry to start working for Joe and Brenda Martin in 2006.
"They have been very, very helpful," said McAuley, citing a close working relationship with the Martins during the transition including an inventory clearance sale that ended in January.
"I'd like to get 25-30 years," said McAuley, 44. "I like what I do."
While McAuley has placed new signage at 664 Oakfield Drive, he asks that you give his vision for a new-look store until the end of this summer to start taking shape. The Brandon High School graduate who attended the University of South Florida, said he wants to focus more on creating custom pieces of jewelry, which will fall into the hands of Rob Comfort, who has worked at Martin's for more than 37 years.
A more modern look is in the works, including showcasing works from local artists on the walls where once there were expensive clocks.
"Jewelry is art," said McAuley, who also has starting buying jewelry for consignment and to use for remaking creative pieces such as colorful wedding bands.
One other key change will be new opening hours. McAuley said he kept track of operations over the past few years and learned it would be more beneficial to open an hour later, at 10 a.m. But he said customers can still expect the same attention they are accustomed to because many of the same faces will remain on staff.
Don Korte will work part time after toiling for more than 27 years at the store. Wayne Simmons, who has worked there more than three years, and Pamela Simmons, the Martins' daughter, who has helped out at the store for the past nine years, also will be on staff.
They will join jeweler/goldsmith Deo Seudatt Gajadhar and McAuley's wife Jennifer, who will provide part time operations assistance.
McAuley said one of the main differences he has seen in the jewelry industry in the past decade is the abundance of online retailers.
"It's hard to compete," he said of the online competition who sell mainly on price. "It's very impersonal. We are glad to help (our customers) and get as close to the (online) price as possible."
Visit facebook.com/mcauleyfinejewelry to view consignment jewelry items, promotions, hours and more.
Couple spurs schools with new technology
Henry and Julie Burroughs opened a new Technology WIN! Office late last year in Brandon to focus on placing today's latest technology in the hands of teachers and students in affordable, easy and secure ways.
With the new office space, they have several flexible meeting areas where they can host training sessions and one-on-one conferences.
At Technology WIN!, located at 3439 Brook Crossing Drive, the company works with the whole school community including administration, faculty and staff, parents and students. It also offers learning and professional development opportunities for members of the educational community.
To learn more about Technology WIN!, call (863) 354-0849 or visit technologywin.com.
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