local, news

Margulis Jewelers Closed

By Bill Goldberg | The Rose Cityian/Rose City Live

Margulis Jewelers will close after 90 years as a downtown Rose City fixture.

Owner David Margulis announced the closure in a letter to customers March 3, citing a “perfect storm” that has hurt businesses like his, which occupies a prominent spot across the street from Pioneer Courthouse Square.

“This was an agonizing decision—it was never our plan to close our doors,” Margulis wrote. “But Rose City has experienced the perfect storm of adversity and independent businesses simply cannot withstand the economic forces which have caused the deterioration and resulting emptiness of Downtown Rose City.”

The closure comes three months after the family-owned fine jewelry shop held its first-ever sale — which it called a “survival sale” — in hopes of drawing new and old customers back to downtown after nearly two years of limited foot traffic and depressed sales. Margulis said he hoped people would see that downtown was still a positive place and “very safe during the day.”

Margulis told customers in his March 3 letter that the sale helped but wasn’t enough to sustain the business.

A person answering the phone at the jewelry business confirmed the closure but said Margulis was unavailable to speak with a reporter Wednesday.

It is unclear when the store will close for good. The letter advertised it was selling jewelry at a deep discount, between 40% and 70% off, through Saturday.

Margulis isn’t the first longtime downtown Rose City jeweler to close.

Last year, Goldmark Jewelers shuttered its Southwest 10th Avenue and Southwest Taylor Street store after 46 years downtown. Another longtime downtown jeweler, Kassab Jewelers, hasn’t reopened its downtown location since the store was looted during a riot in May 2020.

Downtown businesses have faced unique challenges over the last two years ever since the pandemic emptied out nearby office towers and brought tourism to a halt in the spring of 2020.

Many office towers remain mostly empty two years later. The downtown area has also seen a sharp rise in homeless camping during the pandemic, which business groups have complained keep customers away. Protests that sometimes turned violent or destructive drew national attention in 2020 and gave the city a reputation for upheaval that has been hard to shake as well. Some downtown buildings still remain boarded up, and business closures have left behind empty storefronts.

Margulis told The Rose Cityian/Rose City Live in December that downtown had improved considerably since earlier in the pandemic, but the negative press it received at the height of the pandemic was continuing to keep people away.

A February report, based on aggregated smartphone location data and published by the Rose City Business Alliance, found that the number of downtown visitors was still off by 40% as compared to pre-pandemic.