Kuhn’s Downtown Salisbury building is being sold

Susan Purnell of Kuhn’s Jewelers.

Kuhn’s Jewelers, one of Salisbury’s oldest businesses, will remain at Sea Gull Square and its longtime home on the Downtown Plaza is being sold to a local investment buyer.

The Downtown building is under contract to Doug Church who also owns the neighboring buildings that house Sushi de Kanpai, Tony Weeg Photography and Salisbury Coffee on the street level with apartments upstairs, said Joey Gilkerson of NAI Coastal commercial real estate and Gillis Gilkerson.

Kuhn’s moved in October to what was supposed to be a temporary location during the Main Street construction project that threatened to interrupt the store’s busy Christmas season.

But owner Susan Purnell said she has decided to stay in the South Salisbury Boulevard spot just south of the Salisbury University campus with other retail shops and eateries. The space is larger and brighter and offers more visibility than the Plaza location.

“I had no idea business could be this good,” she said.

The new, larger store allowed her to expand inventory and its location as attracted many new customers, Purnell said.

“I just decided I had to stay,” she said. “I know I made the right decision.”

Kuhn’s had been in business on the Downtown Plaza since 1923 when Purnell’s grandfather purchased another jewelry store that had been there since 1853.

Kuhn’s Jewelers’ new location in Sea Gull Square.

Meanwhile, Gilkerson said there “people are chomping at the bit” for spaces on the Downtown Plaza, including one “strong prospect” for the Kuhn’s building and another a few doors away,

“It’s the strongest I’ve ever seen,” Gilkerson said. “I can’t tell you the last time people have competed for space.”

Recent Downtown Main Street construction has somewhat slowed business, but sidewalks are open and parking is available in the city garage and parking lots.

“It’s really not that big of a deal,” he said.

The Plaza — the section of West Main Street between Mill and Division streets — was converted to a pedestrian-only area in 1968, but in recent years reopened to one-way traffic and limited parking.

The city has already completed three blocks of Main Street between Route 13 and Division Street, and the project has moved into Division Street near the Government Office Building and the Downtown Plaza. 

The work will include new sidewalks, lighting and landscaping to match what’s already been completed on Main Street. Below ground, the city also has been replacing 100-year-old water and sewer mains, as well as installing high-speed internet lines.

Gilkerson said the work has generated a lot of interest in Main Street.

“The stars are aligning and people want to come back Downtown,” he said.

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