WILKES-BARRE — About 16 years ago, Ilona Taylor was driving down South Main Street when she noticed the former Frank Clark Jewelry Store.
Taylor pulled over, got out of her car and peered through the window to try to catch a glimpse of what was inside. She couldn’t see much, but she saw enough to know that she wished she could open a jewelry store of her own in the once-glorious space.
Soon Taylor and her husband, Michael, will do just that when Ocean Gold at the Frank Clark building opens for business at 63 S. Main St.
“We love the history” of the building, said Taylor, 37. “We want to renew and continue the Frank Clark legacy, while at the same time create a great experience for our customers.”
The Taylors were busy Monday helping to get the store ready for opening. The original jewelry cases are lined up, and Earl Hoopingarner and Matthew Mitchell were painting the ceiling and polishing the wood paneling to restore the lustre to the interior.
Chandeliers still must be polished and the exterior brass and marble facade will once again sparkle. But Michael Taylor, 36, said a new awning will have to wait.
“So many people have stopped by to look at what we’re doing and to wish us well,” he said. “They all have stories about Frank Clark’s and the special items they purchased here.”
Taylor said living up to that legacy adds some pressure to the opening of a new venture. He and his wife have another Ocean Gold location in Nanticoke. Ilona’s father, Benjamin Kravets, started the business in Atlantic City, N.J.
Frank Clark closed about 20 years ago and the building has been vacant since. The Taylors found some Frank Clark files and realized the Wilkes-Barre company was larger than people thought.
“They were an international company,” Taylor said. “We found shipping labels from around the world. They shipped a lot of merchandise out of the U.S.”
Hoopingarner, owner of Slim’s Hauling in Wilkes-Barre, said he wants to get the place back to where it was. He said restoring the wood, chandeliers, facade and carpeting is exciting.
“It feels like I’m bringing history back,” he said.
Taylor said he and Ilona will do repairs and fabrications of special pieces.
Ilona said the store will offer gold, silver, diamonds and more. She said like any business, inventory and merchandise lines will grow.
“To think our grand opening is only a week or two away,” she said. “It’s a long time from 16 years ago when I first noticed this store.”