Too much space, not the lack of it, is prompting Eric Clay McClain to move his store, Barton-Clay Fine Jewelers, a few blocks away later this summer, from Cahaba Road in Mountain Brook Village to 330 Rele Street in Lane Parke.
“We knew we wanted a smaller space so we can serve our customers better,” McClain said. “We’re going to continue doing what we’ve always done.”
The present store is 9,600 square feet, which is too large for the business’ needs, and overhead is expensive to maintain. Air conditioning in summer, for example, can cost about $1,000 a month, McClain said.
The new store at Lane Parke will be 1,700 square feet. Inside, space will be compact and well planned.
At the front will be the Montblanc watch boutique and the watch sales area. The engagement and wedding ring display and jewelry repair have their own sections. There won’t be an office area.
“I can do that at home,” McClain said.
Showcases are being built and pretty much everything in the store will be brand new, McClain said.
“Really, the only thing we’re taking to the new store is the jewelry,” he said, adding that Barton-Clay may add new watch and jewelry lines to the inventory.
Besides selling fine jewelry and watches, Barton-Clay is well-known for its customer service and jewelry and watch repairs. Those services will continue after the move, McClain said.
A fixture of village shopping since 1987, Barton-Clay moved to its current location in 1995 from its original store on Culver Road. McClain co-founded Barton-Clay with Sperry Snow who passed away in 2011. They built the Cahaba Road building that houses the jewelry store.
It’s a family-run business, with McClain’s wife, Jill McClain, helping with merchandising and buying while their son, Ryan McClain, is in charge of the store’s watch department and Mont Blanc merchandise.
“It’s really a small company so that everybody just kind of does what’s needed,” McClain said.
McClain has sold the building and said the store will move in August or September, with preparations well underway.
McClain is a Birmingham native who spent his childhood in Norwood before his family moved to Huffman when he was in the eighth grade. He graduated from Jacksonville State University and came to the jewelry business by chance when he got a part-time job working with jewelry during Christmas one year.
“I loved kind of what I did and decided to pursue it full time,” he said.