July 2014

The New Heritage Fine Jewelry

Author: Frank Dunne, Jr. | Photographer: Brett Lance

After nearly a quarter century at Pineland Station, Heritage Fine Jewelry opened its doors for the first time at the new location at Shelter Cove Towne Centre on June 5 to great success. “It was fabulous,” proprietor Patti Catalano Catalano said. “There were people lined up at the door.”

The first people in the door—a couple—came to Catalano, and the woman said, “You probably don’t remember us, but we came in 20 years ago, and my husband bought me a beautiful piece for our 30th anniversary.” Having heard of the store’s move from Pineland Station to Shelter Cove Towne Centre via social media, the couple was back on Hilton Head Island for the first time in years, now celebrating their golden anniversary. “I want to be the first in the door,” said the wife to her husband. And so they became the first customers of the family-owned-and-operated jewelry store’s new era.

It’s a change whose time had come. “We had 24 great years there [Pineland Station],” said Jennifer Lance, a gemologist and Catalano’s daughter. But—borrowing a sports catchphrase—Father Time is undefeated.

Things change, communities evolve, and Shelter Cove Towne Centre is the vision for Hilton Head Island retailing’s future. An opportunity to be there is one the Heritage Fine Jewelry family couldn’t pass up. “We want our customers to know that it’s still going to be that same comfortable atmosphere here as it was there for all those years, just newer, cleaner, fresher and more up-to-date,” Lance added.

^The storefront of Heritage Fine Jewelry, in their new location at Shelter Cove Towne Centre.

Most striking is the size and scope of the new store compared to the old. Larger, brighter, more open and airy, longtime customers are in for an enhanced shopping experience at the new location. “I think the layout is more comfortable, and it’s easier for customers to see the merchandise,” Catalano said. “And we’ve got some nice cushy chairs so the guys can relax when they get bored while their wives look around!” Plus, the Towne Centre site plan affords parking right outside the front door, and an expectation for a boost in walk-in traffic when fully built out and occupied.

Lance notes that high walk-in traffic volumes will be a big change, and a positive one for the business, but she also stresses that the homey, friendly, family environment that regular customers love will always remain. “We’ve always been a destination store,” she said, “and we’ll continue to be that. Now, we’ll be a little of both. We’re in a newer, up-and-coming area, but our prices haven’t changed, the atmosphere hasn’t changed, and as you can see, the dogs are still here!”

Yes, the dogs are still there. Stanley, Harley, and Buddy, Heritage Fine Jewelry’s four-legged “greeters,” easily erase any doubt of a distinctively casual aura about the store. Customers have been known to drop by just to visit the furry trio, and that’s quite all right with everyone. “We want you to feel that it’s okay to come in off the beach or the golf course,” Lance said.

Before you get the idea that bigger isn’t necessarily better, consider that, in this case, it means an expanded inventory and more choices. “Our old safe was about this big,” Lance said, gesturing with her hands to illustrate something significantly smaller than the new store’s walk-in vault. “Now it’s a big walk-in. And we just got back from a jewelry show in May, so we’ll be adding even more. It’ll be certainly more stuff than we’ve ever had before.”

To be more specific, Heritage Fine Jewelry specializes in custom gold, platinum, and sterling silver pieces, direct import diamonds, designer sterling silver jewelry, handcrafted nautical-themed pieces, and a variety of engravable gift items. Engraving and jewelry repair services are all done on the premises.” We don’t send anything out,” Lance said. “We like to keep a level of control.” Heritage is also an exclusive Movado watch dealer.

Lance describes Heritage as a place where you can go to find a piece that is priced well, but still maintains the look, feel, and quality of higher-end designer names that typically come with a higher price tag. It’s an option certain to grow in popularity in light of what’s happening with gold and silver prices lately. “There are so many cool manufacturers that we have dealt with for a lot of years that supply really high-end product as far as materials, quality, and workmanship go. It enables you to have a piece that looks like it’s a designer piece without paying so much extra for it,” she said.

That is by no means an exhaustive description of Heritage Fine Jewelers’ product and service offerings, and you’re not going to get that here because Patti, Jennifer and her two brothers, Patrick and Doug (Stanley, Harley, and Buddy as well), want you to drop by for a visit and to check out the new digs.

Yes, it’s a family affair in every sense of the term, going all the way back to 1975 when Catalano opened her first jewelry store in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The three children grew up around the business, pitching in over the summers and after school. “I can remember Jen doing inventory at 10 years old,” said Catalano, who didn’t always expect to have all three of her children committed to the business for the long haul. All three did start down other paths at one time or another—Doug in construction, Patrick in sports apparel, and Jennifer to study international business—but all found their way back. Today, Patrick lends his artistic skills to jewelry design, manufacturing and repairs, Doug is a skilled engraving technician, Jennifer provides gemology expertise, and all three join Mom on the shop floor with customers.

There are many theories about the wisdom of working with family, but making it work for nearly 40 years pretty much speaks for itself. Catalano reflected on her good fortune like a proud mother, “Did I expect all three? No. Do I feel blessed? Absolutely.” 

Heritage Fine Jewelry is located at Shelter Cove Towne Centre, 28 Shelter Cove Lane, Suite 114, Hilton Head Island. For more information, call (843) 689-2900 or visit online at HeritageJewelersHHI.com.

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