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Longtime Woodbury business closes up shop

Gem Classics owner Barb Swenson (right) is pictured with Kathy Bayliss, Wellington Management property manager at Valley Creek Mall. Gem Classics closed in June after 27 years at the mall. (Submitted photo)

One of Woodbury’s longest running businesses closed up shop in June.

Gem Classics closed its doors at Valley Creek Mall after operating there since 1987.

Owner Barb Swenson cited “significant changes” in the jewelry business – specifically, the advent of e-commerce, which she said in a news release has led to less in-store browsing.

The news release states that Gem Classics built its customer base in its early days among 3M and then-Fortis Benefits Insurance Co. workers who shopped there, many of whom Swenson and her husband would count as friends.

“For Barb,” the release states, “Gem Classics was far more than a job; it was a way of life.”

The store once thrived at Valley Creek Mall – for years, the only shopping center in Woodbury – where a florist, a liquor store, a pet food store, a video store and an art gallery all called home. The mall continues to be a popular destination, where Sole Mio Ristorante, Keys Café, Ace Hardware and Warners’ Stellian are among a host of businesses there.

Swenson recalled how she would bring her then- 5-year-old daughter to the store when it first opened.

“With her granddaughter now 5 years old, Barb believes the store’s life cycle has come full circle and it’s time to begin a new chapter,” the release states.

Swenson will remain involved in the gem business, according to the release, though likely in a smaller capacity.