Charles Paul Gem Designs is closing

South Whitehall Twp. jeweler is retiring after nearly 40 years in business.

C. Paul Stubbe has been creating gemstone jewelry for decades.

Stubbe, a self-described "rock hound," founded Charles Paul Gem Designs in 1974 in a modest space in downtown Allentown.

He later moved to a highly visible historic building at Cedar Crest and Hamilton boulevards in South Whitehall Township. Since then, the store has been known as much for its unique jewelry as its location — in an eye-catching three-story building that dates to the 1700s.

Now, after 24 years in South Whitehall, Stubbe is closing his store and retiring.

Charles Paul Gem Designs is holding going-out-of-business sales that are expected to go through June, Stubbe said.

Stubbe, who owns the business with his wife, Deborah Stubbe, said he is retiring because the business has become a bit much. Stubbe is active in all aspects of the operation — from manufacturing to repairs and appraisals.

"Now we're doing so much custom work and to run a retail store is not something that is very efficient to put our energy in," Deborah Stubbe said. "His energy should be in buying stores and making custom pieces because that's where his skills are."

Stubbe will still own the building, but said he could lease the 1,500-square-foot jewelry store space on the lower level. There's also a chance Stubbe, 60, could stay in the jewelry business in a more modest capacity such as appointment-only.

Deborah Stubbe, a clinical psychiatrist, said she plans to open a pediatric mental health practice in the building.

Website: http://www.charlespaul.com

There has been a sea of activity in the Valley's jewelry front in recent years.

South Whitehall jeweler Dreyer's Fine Jewelry shuttered months ago next to Target on Cedar Crest Boulevard.

Owner Paul Dreyer retired after more than two decades in business, a venture that he also started in downtown Allentown and later moved to the burbs.

Speaking of moving to the burbs, downtown Allentown staple jeweler Salomon Jewelers is moving from the area in June. Owners have said they may open a location in western Lehigh County.

Salomon sold its three-story building at 606 Hamilton St. to real estate developer East Penn Real Estate Inc.

Other jewelry news in recent years includes storied Lehigh Valley jewelers Freeman Jewelers and Bixler's Jewelers, both of whom decided to close their city stores and focus on existing stores in suburbia.

Let's shift to openings:

Keystone Pub & Grill quietly opened days ago at former Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon on Grape Street in Whitehall Township.

The 6,200-square-foot restaurant is owned by Savvas Kiprislis and Gus Hronis, proprietors of Keystone Pub on Easton Avenue in Bethlehem Township.

They did a major renovation to the former steakhouse, including a floor-to-ceiling renovation and a 45-seat bar that surrounds a massive beer-tap system.

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