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LONE TREE, CO-At 2,400 sf, it’s not a huge store, but the James Avery jewelry store that opened last week in the Park Meadows regional marks a homecoming for the founder of the Kerrville, TX-based jewelry store.Avery, now in his mid-80′s, but who, until a few years ago was doing 600 pushups a day, got his start in the jewelry business in the early 1950s, while an instructor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His mother-in-law at the time suggested that he use her garage to make jewelry. He took her up on the offer, and at first started selling his mostly religious jewelry to a Christian camp.

Later, he moved to Kerrville, outside of San Antonio, where his privately owned company is headquartered. Today, he has 38 stores in four states and annual revenues of about $85 million. His company employs 1,300 people.

James Avery is still chairman and CEO and is charge of the creative process at the company. One of his son’s, Chris, who gave up a career as an anesthesiologist 13 years ago, is president. Another son, Paul, is executive vice president and in charge of sales and marketing. Paul Avery says the company has long wanted to return to Colorado. Last year, he made a stealth trip to the area and scouted out several possible locations for its first store in Colorado.

“We needed to be in a mall, because we’re not a household name in Colorado like we are in Texas,” Paul Avery tells GlobeSt.com. He liked Park Meadows, because it “seemed very family oriented to me,” he tells GlobeSt.com. He notes that Park Meadows is near Highlands Ranch, the largest master-planned community in the Denver area. Highlands Ranch primarily attracts families.

Also, Park Meadows draws many customers from Colorado Springs less than an hour to the south. Indeed, since Park Meadows opened, traffic along Interstate 25 from the south has dramatically increased, largely because of people wanting to shop at the “resort-style” mall, as it bills itself.

“We think we would do very well with the Colorado Springs market, because it is a very religious, conservative community,” Paul Avery tells GlobeSt.com. “It’s where Focus on the Family is headquartered. About 25% of our jewelry is religious oriented and about 75% is secular. But we think that about 80% of our customer base is Christian.” At the same time, he notes that crosses are increasingly becoming a fashion statement with people who aren’t religious, and that is a market it also may be able to tap.

James Avery already has a strong base of buyers from Colorado Springs, so it might make sense to open its next there, he says. But he is not ruling out opening their next Colorado store at FlatIron Crossing in Broomfield, which is close to Boulder. “Boulder is very liberal, so maybe we would do better in Colorado Springs,” Chris Avery tells GlobeSt.com. “On the other hand, Austin is very liberal, much like Boulder, and we do very well in Austin.”

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