Business

A family business that's as good as gold

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When Nanji Singadia moved from London, England and purchased a small watch repair shop on Buford Highway in Doraville more than 20 years ago, he knew it would be successful. He had been a watchmaker himself and owned a jewelry store before the move. But, little did he know, the seemingly small acquisition would ultimately become a Gwinnett landmark and a legacy for his children and family.

Singadia purchased the business from Barron Guthrie, the original owner who had named the store after himself. Barron#s Fine Jewelry continued to grow and prosper under Singadia#s guidance, and the store moved to a Lilburn location just five years after his purchase.

In 1995, Singadia again decided to move the store closer to his home in Snellville. His son Ajay Singadia came on board, and soon after, daughters Sheila Devlia and Rakhi Singadia joined Barron#s, making it a true #family# business.

Together, the family has worked to build and earn a solid reputation for Barron#s # specifically focusing on their in-house work. The finest diamonds and gemstones are purchased from all over the world including places like Belgium, Israel and India, and the on-site jewelers at Barron#s create unique, one-of-a-kind pieces that have enabled the store to make its mark in the jewelry business.

#Everything is done right here in the store. From fabricating custom pieces and jewelry repairs to repairing watches and engravings, we don#t have to rely on someone else to take care of our customers. We do it all ourselves,# said Ajay.

The hands-on approach taken by Barron#s has gained the store customer loyalty over the years. As their locations have changed, their client base has continued to follow them. In order to better serve the community, Barron#s is opening a new 6,000-square-foot showroom just across the street from their current location.

#We had a New York architect design the inside of the showroom with a contemporary look that still kept the inviting feeling the South embodies,# said Rakhi. #We all contributed to how we wanted it to look, so all of our personalities are reflected throughout the store.#

Along with a beautiful interior, the showroom is also considered to be state-of-the-art in the jewelry industry. More than 35 cameras are focused on the store 24-hours-a-day, and they are accessible from anywhere in the world through Web access. There is also a computerized engraving machine and software for jewelry fabrication that uses CAD (computer aided design).

But beyond the high-tech aspect of the new Barron#s store, perhaps one of the most important parts of the business are the 23 employees that help to make Barron#s a place the customers continue to come back to again and again.

#We have GIA (Gemological Institute of America) graduates in-house and experienced jewelers, not just bench guys,# said Ajay. #Even the #new# people we have just hired for the expanded showroom have been in the business for at least 10 years. Our sales people know the product, and it shows # our customers keep coming back.#

As Barron#s continues to grow, it is apparent that the family not only excels in the jewelry business, but that their business savvy carries over into commercial real estate. The Singadia family not only built a new showroom, but they also developed the entire shopping center where the new jewelry store is located # Barron#s Tower Place.

About nine stores will call Barron#s Tower Place home including Moe#s, Nextel, Quizno#s and Mattress Firm. However, the retail portion is only phase one of the development. Phase two includes the construction of three office buildings behind the center, expected to be complete sometime in 2006.

#My dad had a vision for this place,# said Ajay. #He thought it would be an intelligent business decision to buy this property, develop it and relocate the store.#

The vision of the Singadia family doesn#t stop at business, however. Barron