Elmquist Jewelers ready to build new store in Willmar
WILLMAR — Longtime downtown Willmar business Elmquist Jewelers will break ground at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the store’s new location at 101 28th Avenue S.E. The public is invited.
Elmquist will construct a new 3,838-square-foot store on one level at the site owned by the store for about the past seven years.
“We’ve been trying to get out onto the First Street area where some of the bigger businesses are,’’ said Mike Noonan of Elmquist Jewelers. “We think that we’re going to have very ample parking out there, more visibility in general.’’
The business has been located downtown since it began here in 1902. Noonan said they like the current location at 411 Litchfield Ave. S.W., but just want a little more traffic.
“We’ve been downtown 112 years,’’ he said. “It’s kind of a big step for us because we’re pretty comfortable with where we’re at. But we think that if we need to expand the business toward the future, it would be good for us to move. We enjoy downtown. We’ve been there a long time. In fact, I think we’re probably the oldest privately owned retail business in Willmar.’’
Noonan said the store will continue to carry and hope to expand fine jewelry, but will probably carry a little less giftware because that part of the business has declined.
The local business began when David Elmquist opened a jewelry store in the first of what would eventually become one of four store locations; two at different times on Benson Avenue, one at the Lakeland Hotel, and finally moving to 411 Litchfield Ave. in 1967.
The new building is being designed and built by TerWisscha Construction of Willmar. Brent Althoff, project manager, said construction will be completed by fall. The wood-frame building will have outside finishes of stone and exterior insulation finish system.