A longtime Sparks gem is closing

W.R. Adams & Son Jewelers has long been a fixture on Victorian Avenue in Sparks for a century now.

And as Sparks’ oldest continually-owned business celebrates its 100-year anniversary, its third-generation owner, Marcia Adams-Frugoli, felt it was a symbolic time to close the store for good. Adams-Frugoli, who took control of the store when her mother Louise passed away in 1990, and along with her husband, were looking forward to retirement. Add to the fact they also have no family to pass the baton to.

“It’s bittersweet. You want to retire and enjoy life but on the other hand, it has run for 100 years. And while I hate to see it close, we have no children or relatives to carry it on,” Adams-Frugoli said. “It’s just something you have to do when you feel well enough to do it.”

They also had no interest in selling the business to an outside party.

“We haven’t been approached by anybody and we haven’t put it on the market. We just thought we’d close it out because it just seemed to be the better way to go.

To mark the occasion, the store is holding a “Retirement Sale” that started on April 21. Everything is marked down as much as 50 percent off of retail price. The owners will close the doors once every single item is sold.

“We own the building so we have no closing date,” she said.

Adams-Frugoli has worked at the store since 1964, managing the approximately 2,200-square-foot store and the small staff of employees. Her husband, Mario Frugoli, had a career as a CPA, but had no prior affiliation with the business. However, he came in to help out with the closing sale.

“On the first day of the sale, we were so busy,” Adams-Frugoli said.

The company was started in 1915 by Adams-Frugoli’s grandfather, William “Bill” Adams, and initially named W.R. Adams Jewelry Co. The firm started in the same location as it is today.

The business also briefly moved down the street.

“It actually started in this location in a wooden building in 1915,” said Adams-Frugoli. “They moved down the block, lost their lease and moved back to this location. They built a new building in 1939 and my father remodeled it in 1948.

Bill Adams, who was once mayor of Sparks, started a tradition early on of presenting a Sparks High School senior boy and girl with watch. The firm also was the official railroad watch inspector from 1924 to 1982.

After Bill Adams passed away in 1940, his son, Robert “Bob” Adams took the reins. Bob Adams expanded the store services to offer appliances such as televisions, refrigerators and washing machines.

Bob Adams died in 1982 and his widow, Louise, managed the store until she passed away in 1990, leaving the store to their daughter.

Adams-Frugoli herself spearheaded a remodel of the store in 1990 adding a “Christmas Corner” to take advantage of the burgeoning tourism industry that started trickling into the area. That included Christmas ornaments and giftware. Appiance sales were also phased out of the business.

“At that time, Victorian Square began to come into play, and we wanted something for tourists, so we added the ornaments because the price point was a lot better than the fine jewelry,” she said.

“When we started our Christmas Corner in 1990, we introduced glass ornaments as opposed to the plastic ornaments that are out there,” she said.

The property had selection of popular Santa Claus and Caroler ornaments and fixtures. It also has a variety of dog-related giftware, a favorite of the store since the couple love dogs.

As the business sees its last days, Adams-Frugoli is grateful for the business’ legacy.

“The thing I will remember most is the people, the great relationships with the people you encounter,” she said.


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