Tornado victim re-opens jewelry store in Dallas
DALLAS — Nearly six months after a tornado ripped through its WilkesBarre Twp. store, Tovon & Co. celebrated a grand reopening Friday in the Dallas Shopping Center.
It’s a homecoming of sorts as the store is four doors down from where the business started 26 years ago.
“It’s been a long journey but it has been well worth it,” said Tommy Van Scoy Jr., owner and president of Tovon & Co.
Customers filled the store Friday morning and Van Scoy said everything was marked down 20 to 50 percent during the grand re-opening celebration.
Specials will be offered through Christmas and everyone who comes in can get their rings cleaned for free, Van Scoy said. Customers also could enter to win a pair of diamond earrings.
The June 13 tornado destroyed his store and six others in the Wilkes-Barre Twp. Commons, including Panera Bread, America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses, Holiday Hair, LA Nails, Famous Footwear and Sneaker King.
VanScoy said while the tornado devastated the store, diamonds and other jewelry remained in the safe unharmed.
“The only things we had out front was our sterling silver and lower ticketed items and we are insured for that,” he said.
Van Scoy is still trying to get jewelry milling machines that were damaged in the tornado working again.
Tovon & Co. and other stores destroyed by the tornado in the Wilkes-Barre Twp. Commons are still awaiting demolition. A spokesperson for the property’s owner, Urban Edge Properties, could not yet say when the strip mall will be torn down.
After the tornado, employees from GameStop began working at another store location in Wyoming Valley Mall. GameStop recently opened another store in the closed Sweet Frog in the Wilkes-Barre Twp. Marketplace near Walmart.
Employees at Holiday Hair moved to another location in Edwardsville.
Jack Beccaris, owner of Sneaker King, recently announced that his store in Plains Twp. will close after more than 71 years. That left Sneaker King without a location in the Wyoming Valley since the tornado destroyed the other store in the WilkesBarre Twp. Commons.
Van Scoy said he and Beccaris were the only two in the shopping center that were local owners. Other stores are owned by corporations, which have multiple other locations for income.
“I’m a sole proprietor basically,” Van Scoy said. “I have one store so I had to do something here to get moving.”
Van Scoy, who lives near Centermoreland, said the location in the Dallas Shopping Center is closer for him.
Long-time employees at Tovon & Co. have remained working at the store including Diane Siracuse, an employee for 26 years, and Denise Swida, an employee for 22 years.
“When I got the insurance, I made sure I had wages covered,” Van Scoy said.
Customers who came to Tovon & Co. on Friday said they are glad the store reopened.
“I’m really excited that it’s open so I can get my ring cleaned all the time now,” said Old Forge resident Jennifer Kimble, who is getting married in October.
Barbara Pavloski of Old Forge said the new store is “beautiful” and she appreciates Van Scoy explaining everything about diamonds.
“He’s marvelous,” she said. “The diamonds here are beautiful. They’re gorgeous.”
Tommy Van Scoy talks with a reporter at the grand opening of Tovon & Co., in the Dallas Shopping Center on Friday.