News Journal: As his business departs downtown, Will Minster will work to create stronger central business district

From the Wilmington News Journal

Downtown Wilmington is losing a longtime family-owned jewelry store, but its  owner says he’s hardly giving up on downtown.

Minster’s Jewelers, founded in 1895 in Elkton, Md., opened in Wilmington in 1985, but owners Will and Kelly Minster will close the outlet at 218 W. Ninth St. by Christmas Eve. It now is liquidating its merchandise, from diamonds and rubies to gold and silver.  Minster’s will retain its downtown Newark location, which opened in 1955. The downtown Elkton store closed in the late 1970s.

Will Minster said the economy made it impossible to sustain two stores.  “We’re not leaving because downtown WIlmington isn’t right. We’re leaving because the economy isn’t right,” he said.  Kelly Minster, his wife, will continue at the Newark store, run by Marilyn Minster, Will’s 80-year-old mother, who still designs jewelry.

Even as his business departs downtown, Will Minster will spend his days working for downtown’s future. He will be director of economic restructuring for the Wilmington Downtown Business Improvement District, also known as Downtown Visions.  In that role, he will work on finding ways for downtown businesses to market themselves together, work to recruit new businesses and retain the ones that are currently downtown.

“I’m a bench jeweler. What do bench jewelers do? They fix things, they design, create things from scratch,” Minster said. “It’s taking that mind-set, taking something broken, and fixing it.”

He will also be program manager for Main Street Wilmington, a local version of a national program founded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The program works to preserve old buildings while creating a strong business district.

article continues on News Journal

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