UPDATED — Jerry Burnell had a vision 34 years ago when Rock Road was a two-lane country road.
Burnell had been selling jewelry on the art show circuit for five years when he decided to rent a vacant lot at 555 N. Rock Road that had nothing but wire around the property.
“I knew this was the direction the town was coming,” he says.
Burnell opened Burnell’s Creative Gold jewelry store there, and he says it wasn’t long before he realized that when he one day wanted to retire, the best people to take over would already be in his shop.
“I put together (a) very capable group of people and basically have tried to work myself out of a job for the past 10 years, and I have succeeded,” Burnell says.
Manager Robin Lies and jeweler Nathan Regan are now the principal owners of the shop. Burnell will continue to work there up to 20 hours a week, but he’s no longer an owner.
“The financial part won’t be my responsibility in the future, which doesn’t hurt my feelings,” he says.
His wife, Johnna Burnell, joined the business 14 years ago, and she has been gradually retiring with her husband.
“It’s been a beautiful transition,” Lies says.
“You know, we all work really well together, and it’s just kind of a team effort, and it just always kind of has been,” she says. “It’s such a fabulous store, and it’s done so well for so long. It was a great opportunity for everyone.”