Sunday, July 7, 2024

Kettering Jewelry Business Expands Far Hills Site, Adds Jobs

Kettering, Ohio— James Free Jewelers, a long-established jewelry business, is set to double the size of its store at 3100 Far Hills Ave. and add new jobs, marking a significant expansion after more than 35 years at the location.

Expansion Plans

The expansion involves adding 15,000 square feet to the existing 15,000-square-foot store, according to Michael Karaman, the owner of James Free Jewelers. The new addition will feature two stories and a basement on the south side of the current building, on land previously occupied by Hanson Audio.

“We’re very excited about the addition,” Karaman said. “It’s going to be a very beautiful expansion.” He noted that the new structure will match the architectural style of the existing building, ensuring a seamless look.

Reasons for Expansion

The primary motivation for the expansion is to accommodate a new section dedicated to Rolex, which is the store’s largest brand. James Free Jewelers prides itself on being an official Rolex dealer, a status prominently featured on its website.

Job Creation

The expansion, expected to be completed by next June, will create four new jobs, increasing the Far Hills site’s workforce from 33 to 37 employees. The business currently employs 69 people across its Kettering and suburban Cincinnati locations.

Community Impact

“It’s great news for James Free and for the community,” Karaman said. The business has been a fixture at its Far Hills location since 1988.

Development Details

The expansion has been in the planning stages for about a year. James Free Jewelers rents the property from Lasada, Inc., a real estate company also operated by Karaman. Lasada acquired the 0.72-acre corner lot at Rockhill Avenue from Hanson Audio in 2022 for $900,000, according to Montgomery County land records.

Construction progress includes the demolition of the former Hanson building, pouring cement for the basement and first floor, and installing steel for the frame. Lasada also owns the adjacent lot to the north, purchased in 2013, and a 0.2-acre site at 100 Cushing Ave., bought for $140,000. The Cushing land was rezoned from residential to business in 2015 to provide additional parking for the jewelry store.

Next Steps

Lasada recently received approval from Kettering to combine its Far Hills lot with the corner property on Cushing, facilitating the expansion. The construction is now well underway, with completion targeted for June next year.

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