Baby giraffes and high-end watches are shaking things up at the corner of Bullard and West avenues in Fresno.
The jeweler and watch retailer is in the process of expanding, almost doubling its showroom and work space at 1776 W. Bullard Ave.
The watch business – both sales and repair – is booming so the company will expand its selection of high-end watches, including pre-owned Rolexes, Baume & Mercier and Cartier.
It will also carry new lines of jewelry, though owner Ara Karkazian hasn’t revealed which ones yet.
Ara Karkazian Watch and Jewelry Co. started in 1978 in 200 square feet at Shields and West avenues.
The changes will also allow the business to make its own jewelry entirely on site. It has already been designing custom rings, necklaces and bracelets, but had to send out some of the work. Soon 100% of it will be done in house.
The expansion should be finished by October.
The jeweler took over about 10 feet of the Holiday Boutique next door. The shop and the landlord used the opportunity to remodel the store with new floors, a fresh coat of paint, a new entrance and knocking down a wall to open up the sales space.
The store has been in the space since 1977. It has a core following of loyal customers, but if you’re not familiar with the place, it might take some explaining.
It’s not just holiday merchandise.
Lynne Kerr, Holiday Boutique
It’s called Holiday Boutique, even though it’s open year round, because it got its start with women selling Christmas cards out of the trunk of a car.
“It just never changed,” marketing manager Lynne Kerr says of the name.
The store is run by Holiday Guild volunteers and all the profits go to Valley Children’s Hospital.
That’s also why you’ll see a lot of giraffes at the store – the hospital’s mascot is a giraffe – including stuffed giraffes, taller-than-your-kid giraffes and a giraffes on kids cups and plates.
But there’s a lot more here too, including:
- A baby section that includes old-school gifts like pewter cups that can be engraved with a child’s name and ceramic boxes to hold lost teeth. The store has a baby gift registry.
- The Holiday Boutique also has a bridal registry, probably the most personal one you’ll find in town. The dishes and other items that brides register for are displayed on the couple’s own shelf in the store, complete with their name and picture.
- Items for “glamour tailgating.” Kind of like glamping (that not-really-roughing-it combo of glamour and camping), Kerr tells me that glamour tailgating is essentially tailgating with really nice things. So, there’s teal and yellow insulated cooler totes and lots of dishes that looks like glass but are really acrylic and won’t break if you drop them.
The store has many other high-end gifts, jewelry and items for the home, too, and offers gift wrapping.
The profits from purchases go toward a $4-million goal that all the hospital’s guilds are working toward. The money goes to the hospital’s heart center, which specializes in repairing hearts as tiny as walnuts; child life specialists who help children cope with being in the hospital; and spiritual services.
“Think of it as giving a gift twice,” Kerr says.
The Holiday Boutique is at 1772 W. Bullard Ave. and is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.