LEXINGTON — Though the stores had been closed for more than six months, Midlands shoppers remembered their longtime connection to Satterfield's Jewelry Warehouse, a retailer known for selling college sports apparel.
A line of customers snaked along an entire shopping center and into the parking lot when the Lexington store reopened on the eve of the weekend's University of South Carolina-Clemson University game for a liquidation sale.
The Jewelry Warehouse began selling off its stockpile of sports items on Friday and its remaining jewelry inventory on Monday, months after the S.C. Revenue Department stopped previous liquidation plans over unpaid tax liens totaling more than $500,000.
Now the family-owned company is selling off its inventory through a liquidator and getting ready for a new owner to take over, longtime owner Scott Satterfield said.
"It's been extremely humbling to see customers support us as I have," Satterfield said.
The Satterfields had operated several locations of Jewelry Warehouse around the Midlands for four decades. The stores started giving away round garnet game day stickers in the early 1980s with white lettering that said “Beat” and then the name of the Gamecocks’ opponent for the week. Getting the stickers before kickoff became a ritual for many fans.
On Friday, the sports side of the store, Garnet and Black Traditions, reopened and offered "Beat Clemson" stickers. The sticker tradition will stay in place under the new owners, said Satterfield, who will stay on as a consultant to the new company.
The Lexington store will stay open through at least Christmas while holding a liquidation sale, Satterfield said. The business will close and be taken over by McNeill Jewelers of Lumberton, N.C., who will revamp the Lexington location and then reopen it in 2020. A second location in Columbia is possible during the first year under new ownership, Satterfield said.
McNeill understands that Jewelry Warehouse has a longtime relationship with customers in the Midlands, and that's why they have been waiting to take over rather than just opening their own locations, Satterfield said.
"They know our store, they know our family's history," he said.
Satterfield said that the debt issues that pushed Jewelry Warehouse into foreclosure left him frustrated, dealing with bankers instead of customers. He initially resisted putting the company into foreclosure and leaving debtors waiting to collect. He also resisted personal bankruptcy.
"I felt like I was letting people down," Satterfield said.
He is staying on under new owners because he wants to continue taking part in the business that he enjoys and can succeed at: serving customers when they are celebrating some joyous event in their lives.
"I know how to run retail," Satterfield said.