Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry announced this week that it has signed a lease to open a 3,500-square-foot store at ABQ Uptown in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The retailer is renovating a former steak restaurant; here’s what its new store will look like.

Albuquerque, N.M.--Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry, a 40-year-old family-owned firm, announced this week that it will open its ninth store this spring.

Located at ABQ Uptown in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the store will be 3,500 square feet and stock David Yurman and Rolex, among other brands.

Ryan Berg, who currently oversees the retailer’s operations in Shreveport, Louisiana and Texas, will be in charge of the Albuquerque store.

Berg told National Jeweler Wednesday that the new Lee Michaels store will be the only authorized Rolex dealer in the state (there were two others but they closed in recent years) and the only store in the state to carry David Yurman.

He said Lee Michaels is promoting from within, relocating the assistant manager of its San Antonio store to Albuquerque to manage the new store.

Also joining the staff on a part-time basis is longtime local jeweler Ron Beauchamp, who made the decision to retire and close Beauchamp Jewelers in 2016. Berg said Beauchamp, a graduate gemologist, will work to help establish Lee Michaels in the community where he has long-standing relationships.

The new Lee Michaels store is expected to open in late May or early June and will be an end cap on ABQ Uptown, an upscale Simon-owned strip mall that includes the state’s only Apple and Lululemon stores.

Berg said they are renovating a space formerly occupied by a steak restaurant.

He said they see “tremendous opportunity” in the market, particularly as the only Rolex and Yurman dealers, as well as in this shopping plaza, which Berg called the “ground zero for high-end retail” in Albuquerque.

Berg added that in an industry that is shrinking, Lee Michaels is growing and pursuing opportunities. The retailer could potentially open a 10th store, though he said they haven’t yet identified a location.

Lee Michael Berg opened Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry in 1978.

Today, the retailer is a member of American Gem Society with locations in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi that do a total of $50 million in sales annually.

The company is run by Lee and his three sons, Ryan, Scott and Chad. Ryan Berg just completed his term as chairman of the board of Jewelers of America while Chad is the current president of the board of directors for the American Gem Society.

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