Building Commerce

Strasburg a perfect fit for new business

By Katie Demeria

STRASBURG — The last two months have moved swiftly for Jean Plauger.

The owner of Jean’s Jewelers in Front Royal was contemplating opening a second store, but had not made any moves to do so. It was seeing the storefront at 183 East King St. just two months ago that convinced her she wanted to move to the town.

“We drove by here, and I said, ‘oh my god, look at that building,'” Plauger said. “Then I saw the ‘for sale’ sign in the corner and called the guy and he met us there right away.”

“It was never something that I had ever said, verbally, but I had always wanted a second store,” she added.

The store had its grand opening on Monday. Plauger has a one-year lease on the space for now, but once that is up, she plans to start another that is likely to last three years.

But finding the perfect storefront was not the only thing that drew Plauger to Strasburg. When faced with the prospect of choosing a small town versus a larger area like Winchester, she said there were numerous reasons why she chose the town, including the streetscape project and a desire to be part of a historical district.

“I felt like, after being over here and seeing all the work that was being done and how beautiful Strasburg was, that it would be really nice to have a store here,” she said. “The hometown jeweler is a really important part of any historical downtown, too. I really think it is.”

More people, she added, are walking around downtown, encouraged by the streetscape project, and she wanted to be part of that.

But, she added, for a jeweler, not only is the community feel important, so, too, is safety.

“We look at the crime rates. We did a study and the crime rate here is very low as opposed to Winchester,” she said. “We are a high- risk business.”

Nor, Plauger continued, is there as much personalization in a larger city. She said Jean’s Jewelers is all about being personal, calling it “the personal jeweler.”

“We want to know our customers,” she said.

Plauger became involved in the jewelry business by happenstance — she knew the owners of McDaniel’s Jewelry in Front Royal and proved to be a skilled saleswoman and designer after she started working there. When the former owners put the store up for sale 17 years ago, she purchased it and changed the name.

Jean’s Jewelers offers a variety of services, from jewelry and clock repair to silver shining and sales. Plauger designs herself, and said the store provides the customer with a visual representation of their chosen piece before preparing the item.

Between Strasburg and Front Royal, the store employs eight people, four at each location.

Plauger said she will be able to see within the first year how much progress and growth she can expect from the Strasburg location.

“I’m really confident that there will be growth,” she said.

To learn more, visit http://www.jeansjewelers.com.

Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kdemeria@nvdaily.com