A long-time staple on Main Street in Elkin will be closing its doors at the end of June, giving its owner a chance to retire early and pursue other interests.
Connie Song, owner of Song’s Jewelry, made the announcement about the closing official in an email blast to members of the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce last week, explaining, “I have owned Song’s Jewelry Store for 18 years. … Closing has been a hard decision to make as my jewelry store was my life and I built my business from the beginning.”
Prior to purchasing the former Hudson’s Bootery building and giving it a total renovation, Song owned two other businesses on North Bridge Street.
Upon moving to the United States from South Korea in 1992 so her son, Richard Song, could attend school here, Connie Song chose to settle in Elkin, near her son’s grandparents, rather than in New York City, which was her first inclination.
She opened Connie’s Nail Care, which was much more than a nail salon, Song explained Monday when talking about her upcoming retirement. “It was very successful. It had two beauticians, massage therapist, tanning bed, two nail technicians and a receptionist,” she said. “But the business was not what I originally wanted for long term.”
Song went full force with her jewelry business, which first was called Song’s Treasure, and included jewelry in addition to gift items. She went to school and was certified as a gemologist, in addition to earning certifications for diamond grading, gem identification, colored stones and colored stone grading.
“I’m proud of what I did, and the knowledge will always stay with me,” she said.
In 2002, Song decided to purchase her own building downtown and move her business, renaming it Song’s Jewelry, a decision she said she was glad she made. “I loved being downtown. The people are so nice,” she said. “When I bought this it was really unshaped, and I spent more money to repair than what I bought. Having a jewelry store, you have to have it nice and neat.”
Then two years ago, her husband of more than 17 years died unexpectedly, and Song said she’s been struggling with the decision on whether to retire since then. “You build your journey how you want to live, and then something unexpected happens,” she said of how life can change without warning. “You don’t know when you’re living life, you don’t know what’s coming.”
She offered the business to her son, who has worked there since finishing school, but she said he has decided to pursue a career in computers, so the decision was made to close the store.
All of the jewelry is on sale starting at 40 percent off this week and gradually increasing to 70 percent off in the last few days of the store’s operations at the end of June. She also has the building listed for sale.
In recent years, Song has pursued an interest in competitive tennis through the United States Tennis Association, traveling many weekends to play against other teams, and this is something she hopes to continue and grow as she looks forward to retirement.
She also will be playing tennis in Korea when she goes there to visit family after the closing of Song’s Jewelry.
But Song will not soon forget Elkin. She said she plans to keep her home here. “Elkin is in my heart,” she said of how it has grown on her. “I thought when my son finished school I would move to New York City then, but I love this town. The people are so nice and I feel so connected.
“Business has been really good, and I was happy. I’m close to retirement age, so retiring early is good. It is fortunate to be able to retire and before I get too old I want to enjoy it,” said Song.
She has been honored through the years for her contributions to the town and its economy. In 2007, she was awarded the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Community Beautification Award.
Two years later, in 2009, she was named a Main Street Champion by the North Carolina Main Street Center “for dedicated support of the downtown revitalization efforts of Elkin Main Street Program.”
Song has served as treasurer of the Downtown Business Association for 12 years, a position which is volunteer.
In her letter to the chamber members, Song said, “I enjoyed interactions with other chamber members and the close friendships that have developed. I will miss all those things. I am moving forward to change my chapter.
“My business has been very successful. I will miss all my customers. I appreciate all your support that means a lot to me.”
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 3366-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.