The rendering shows the front of the PearlWest development where jewelry designer John Atencio is slated to open a store this summer. (Courtesy John Atencio Ltd.)

Jewelry designer John Atencio opening Boulder store at PearlWest

BOULDER — The new PearlWest development nearing completion in downtown Boulder is adding some bling to its list of tenants.

Colorado jewelry designer John Atencio will open a new store this summer at PearlWest after a decade-long hiatus from the city.

The new 1,350-square-foot store, dubbed the John Atencio Gallery, will sit on the ground level near the center of the project on the Pearl Street side. PearlWest, the redevelopment of the former Daily Camera site at 11th and Pearl streets, is a mixed-use project set to include 127,000 square feet of office space, roughly 30,000 square feet for retail and restaurants, a robotic parking garage and a movie theater.

Companies such asCrestone Capital Advisors, Galvanize and SolidFire, which was recently acquired by NetApp, have already signed on as major office users in the project.

David Atencio — John’s nephew and vice president of operations of John Atencio Ltd., which has six other stores in Colorado — said Thursday that the company began looking at getting back into the Boulder market four years ago and started discussions with PearlWest developers about three years ago.

“We wanted to be in a place that really resonated with Boulder,” Atencio said of the downtown location. “We’ve been talking to them almost since the beginning (of the PearlWest project).”

Atencio said no specific opening day has been set yet, but the company is hoping to open sometime in June.

The new store will mark the trial of a new concept for the company that is aimed at removing the “barrier between us and the consumer,” Atencio said. Rather than a snaking linear lineup of glass counters where customers are on one side and store clerks access jewelry from the other side, the Boulder store will be laid out so that employees can access jewelry on the same side of the counters as customers.

In addition, the store will feature a kitchen in the back that will enable the store to host catered events geared toward interacting and getting to know customers in a setting that isn’t solely about sales.

“We’re using this as kind of a platform to rethink our presentation model and our experience inside the store and make it something visually more relevant and a little more hands-on with customers,” Atencio said.

John Atencio began his design career in the 1970s with his first shop in Fort Collins.

Atencio had a store at 2098 Broadway in downtown Boulder for roughly 10 years before closing it in the mid-2000s. David Atencio said the combination of a robbery that had left employees shaken and the opening of the company’s store at the Flatiron Crossing mall in Broomfield led to the closure. But he said the Broomfield store never really saw the uptick in business the company had hoped for in the wake of the Boulder closing, and added that the Boulder store had been “doing nice business.”

The company’s growth at one point reached to California and Arizona, but the recession caused Atencio to reign in its expansion and focus on its core in Colorado. In addition to stores in Fort Collins and Broomfield, the company now has four other locations in the Denver area.

But the desire to get back into Boulder has remained strong.

Shelly Getty, a longtime Boulder resident who has been managing the Flatiron Crossing store the last two and a half years, will manage the two-employee operation in Boulder. She’s in her second stint with the company, and Atencio said it was important to the company to have a local face leading the new concept in Boulder.

“We brought her on knowing this project would at some point come to fruition,” David Atencio said.