ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — There’s a familiar face on the sales floor at the newly opened Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry store at ABQ Uptown.
You will likely be greeted by Ron Beauchamp, the former owner of Beauchamp Jewelry, and a good friend of the Baton Rouge, La.-based Lee Michaels retailing family. Beauchamp, whose family ran a jewelry business in Albuquerque for 66 years, is working for Lee Michaels in a consulting capacity in a community where he has long-standing relationships.
“Jewelry is in my DNA,” said Beauchamp, who’s come on board to help launch Lee Michaels. “As a company, Lee Michaels is a pillar in the industry.”
The store opened for business Monday at 2201 Q Street NE, Suite 9B, the site of the former Marcello’s Chophouse. The fine-dining restaurant closed suddenly in early April.
The 3,500-square-foot store will represent many of “the most prestigious” watch and jewelry manufacturers in the world, including Rolex timepieces, David Yurman jewelry and others, said Ryan Berg, the son of founder Lee Michael Berg. The new store is the ninth in the family-owned and operated business.
“Albuquerque’s the classic Middle-America community that’s in the Lee Michaels wheelhouse,” said Berg.
Founded in 1978, the firm recently posted $56 million in sales at its stores in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi, and the company’s first New Mexico store is projected to be a strong contributor in the future, said Berg.
He said the company sees “tremendous potential” in the market, particularly as the only Rolex and Yurman dealers in the state. The shopping plaza, with tenants like Apple, Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma, is “ground zero for high-end retail” in Albuquerque, said Berg.
The retailer could potentially open a 10th store, although Berg said the owners haven’t yet identified a location.
Larry Chenoweth, who worked at the Lee Michaels San Antonio location, relocated to Albuquerque to manage the new store.
Chenoweth said the upcoming holidays are a time for jewelry retailers to shine. December is the month when they can expect to make some 20 percent of annual sales, according to 2017 data in the U.S. Census Monthly Retail Trade Survey.