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Jewelry store moving to new site with room for two more

A home of its own as well as for two others is in the offing as JoJo's Jewelry and Gifts prepares to move to Ellsworth's northwest side next spring.

The store, presently located in the Village Shopping Center, will gain additional space with the move to a new 70-by-100 foot building between Dr. Shines Car Wash and the Ellsworth Post Office. The structure, for which a groundbreaking was held last week, will give JoJo's 3,000 square feet of space plus 2,000 square feet more for each of two other businesses, yet to be identified.

"We'll have two-and-a-half times more room," co-owner Joanne Gulbranson said Wednesday, comparing the jewelry outlet's part of the new facility to its present part of the center.

She and husband Scott bought the business from Helga Felt in May of 1999, they said. They'd thought about relocating for the past couple of years and had made an offer around a year ago on the 103-by-300 foot lot where the store will now be built. But it was declined by then-owner Roger Hines.

"We essentially forgot about it after that," Mrs. Gulbranson said.

Then, six months ago or so, Hines came to them and asked if they were still interested, she said. A deal for them to buy the property was reached.

The building will be situated in an east-west direction on the lot, with the front facing Hwy. 65 (N. Maple Street) to the west, they said. It will be all-steel and have a very slightly pitched roof. Decorative block will be used on the bottom of the front, topped by decorative brick and stucco above that. The predominant exterior color will be beige.

Approximately 20 parking spaces for customers will be available in front, while employee parking will be in the back, they said. Access will enable people to drive all the way through.

The co-owners are still finalizing the interior layout, but expect it to be similar to their present site, though much larger. Recessed lighting and carpeting will be featured. Among their plans for the additional room are more of the Wild Wings collection they offer and more engraving work. They also hope to get into picture framing.

"We're a lot more than jewelry," Mrs. Gulbranson said, and her spouse noted their Midwest Wireless franchise could be known as All-Tel by the time they get in, due to a change of that company's ownership.

Hours may be added, too, the co-owners said. Perhaps the store will be open one evening a week and possibly part of Sundays. The business employs four people besides themselves, including members of their families.

Red Wing Construction, the main contractor for the building project specializing in commercial jobs, is not only a local chamber of commerce member, but is represented by a distant cousin of Gulbranson, they said. The firm drew up plans for the new complex, which have been approved by the state. The village's planning commission has also approved them, with approval from the village board expected last week.

"We wanted the slab in before the ground froze," Gulbranson said of excavation work that occurred late last month.

The couple said they'd like for retail enterprises to occupy the other two sections of the new structure, but are welcoming all inquiries. They can be contacted at 273-5171 or at .

The site near the county fairgrounds will be the fourth location for the jewelry store since the Swansons, the earlier owners, established it. Originally on the south side of Main Street in the west business district, it moved to the north side there, then to the shopping center in the midway district.

The new building is scheduled for completion next April, the Gulbransons said.