Longtime Bridge Street shop closing down
Rob and Barb DeLuca own the small space that’s been home to Currents Jewelers since the 1980s. Now in the process of closing the store, the DeLucas are looking for tenants.
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VAIL — After 38 years, it’s time for Rob and Barb DeLuca to start a new adventure.
The DeLucas, owner of Currents Jewelers on Bridge Street, have decided it’s time to clear out the store and let someone else occupy the small space just across the street from Gasthof Gramshammer. Barb, who designs much of the store’s jewelry, will keep a small studio, but it’s time for a change.
After spending a few years in Aspen, the DeLucas opened Currents’ first location in Lionshead Village in 1977. A decade later, the couple bought their small space on Bridge Street and have been there ever since.
In the mid-1970s, a friend who had businesses in Vail and Aspen asked the DeLucas if they’d be interested in opening a shop here. The couple was somewhat familiar with Vail — it had been a frequent stop on the way to Denver.
Interstate 70 over Vail Pass hadn’t been finished yet, and U.S. Highway 6 was often closed due to snowstorms. At that time, a set of tire chains cost the same as a night’s lodging in Vail, so the DeLucas would usually just hole up until daylight instead of slipping and sliding over the pass.
While Currents has always been open year-round, Bridge Street was pretty quiet in the summers when the DeLucas first moved into their small storefront.
And “Vail,” in the 1980s, mostly meant Vail Village and certainly meant Vail proper.
“It was an adventure to go to the Gashouse (restaurant in Edwards),” Rob said.
To help drive a bit more business to town when the lifts weren’t running, Currents became a sponsor of everything from dance festivals to golf and tennis tournaments.
A photo collage on the wall of the shop has pictures of luminaries ranging from presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton to tennis legend Jimmy Connors and Madame Sophia Golovkina, then the leader of the Bolshoi Academy, which came to Vail while the former Soviet Union was still in business.
Those people came into the store, of course. So did a lot of other notables. Mostly, though, Currents has appealed to Vail’s affluent visitors.
To attract that business, the store carries multiple lines of jewelry from companies including Faberge. But a big part of the jewelry inventory is from the B. DeLuca collection.
Barb has long designed jewelry and said what people want has evolved since the 1970s, from big-and-chunky to dainty. Today’s customers are moving toward more “sculpted and experimental” designs, she said.
And as always, gold and platinum are Barb’s precious metals of choice.
In the cases today is an array of Barb’s jewelry, much of which can accommodate different precious stones or different center sections in bracelets.
“That way, someone can pack one thing for different occasions,” she said.
While Barb focused on jewelry, Rob’s focus turned to fine watches, which have their own share of shelf space in the store. Watches have evolved over the decades, to today’s trend of broad faces. But Rob has always focused on mechanical watches. There are watches in the store today that contain perpetual calendars, mechanisms that will not only account for the 30 days in September, April, June and November but will jump to March 1 from Feb. 28. Every four years, those watches will include an extra day in February.
While the DeLucas have different interests, they’ve done everything as a couple — something that can be hard to do in any business.
“We’ve gotten ourselves down to one car and one cell phone,” Rob said. “When we had a second car, the battery was always running down because we always went everywhere together.”
And there’s always been Bridge Street, which is why closing the store is a little bittersweet.
“There’s always been the adventure of who’s going to walk in next,” Barb said.
And because Bridge Street is a close-coupled place, there’s always been a neighborliness about the place.
“It’s like a part of your living room,” Rob said.
Now that the store is closing — “We hope in time for us to get in some late-season skiing,” Barb said — those memories are coming back.
“I’m excited. I’m ready for the next adventure,” Barb said. “But (closing) has caused us to reflect. It’s really poignant.”
Whatever comes next in Currents small space — the DeLucas are listening to offers from potential renters — it will be hard to match the longevity of the store that’s become a Bridge Street fixture.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, email@example.com and @scottnmiller.
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