Closing Shop

By Hannah Wallace June 30, 2005

Janet Post remembers walking into her tasteful Palm Avenue jewelry store in downtown Sarasota years ago to find a couple of "tattoo-covered motorcycle guys" talking to the salesperson.

"I couldn't understand what was going on," says Post, a 37-year veteran of the retail and estate jewelry business. In a case of judging a book by its cover, Post learned one of the men was a client seeking appraisal of his grandmother's antique broach-"Magnificent.Russian, beautifully made and worth a great deal of money."

Surprises, interesting people and beautiful jewelry are some of the things Post will miss in retiring from her shop business, which she sold to Sarasota's Ali Chokr of the Diamond Vault. But she's continuing the appraisal business that takes her to posh addresses to examine estates, and to groups of avid listeners to present slide shows on antique jewelry.

Post, who at 80 calls other people "elderly," started in the jewelry business in Pennsylvania, continued in Maryland, moved to St. Armands Circle in 1977 and to Palm Avenue in 1990. Last summer's retail slump clinched her decision to retire from the shop business. "People were afraid to spend," she says. She recognizes the potential market from hundreds of new condominiums downtown, but is satisfied to leave that challenge to Chokr.

Post was an avid tennis player for years, and her sister was a "big wheel" in the United States Tennis Association. One of her Sarasota claims to fame is being the first female member of the Sarasota Bay Rotary Club where she was sponsored by a friend and client in the early 1990s. "At the time, the other clubs would not accept women," she says. "Now, women are running the show."

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