Kuhn’s Jewelers making move to South Salisbury

Susan Purnell of Kuhn’s Jewelers: “I think what’s happening Downtown is great, but I can’t live through it.” (Tony Weeg Photo.)

Kuhn’s Jewelers, a Downtown Salisbury fixture for nearly a century, will be moving to Sea Gull Square during the Main Street construction project that threatens to interrupt the store’s busy Christmas season.

About 50 percent of the store’s annual sales are in November and December, said owner Susan Purnell.

“I think what’s happening Downtown is great, but I can’t live through it,” she said. “We’re relocating for the sake of our customers and the health of the business.”

The Downtown Plaza store will remain open until Oct. 18. Kuhn’s will reopen Oct. 22 in a space next to the Dressing Room.

Sea Gull Square is located on South Salisbury Boulevard just south of the Salisbury University campus with other retail shops and eateries including Starbucks on the street level and student apartments on the upper floors.

Purnell said she plans to be at the new location at least 18 months, or until the project is completed.

The new store will open with special sales in time for Christmas shopping, she said. The staff is looking forward to the move to a space that is bigger and has a different feel than the Downtown Plaza store.

“Everyone here is excited about it,” she said.

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

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.

Her father, Jack Purnell, stayed put during the construction of the Downtown Plaza, so she said she has struggled with the question of “what would Daddy do?” if he were faced with the current situation.

Ultimately, she chose to move out temporarily because customers are having trouble navigating their way on foot through the construction zone.

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.  Work there should wrap up by the end of the year, according to city officials.

The project will next shift to the Downtown Plaza sometime after the new year, starting at Mill Street and working eastward.

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.

Purnell, who owns Kuhn’s building on the Downtown Plaza, said she plans to return there once the work is completed.

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