Warner to return to Fig Garden Village

Warner Co. Jewelers announced Friday that it will return to Fig Garden Village.

The 143-year-old company plans to open next to men's clothing store Patrick James near Shaw Avenue in Fresno. The 5,300-square-foot store is scheduled to open early this summer.

It's a return to central Fresno for the jeweler, which spent more than a decade at Fig Garden Village before moving north.

In 2007, the company moved into a 14,000-square-foot building constructed for it at Palm and Herndon avenues. CJS Properties LLC, a related but legally separate company, owned the building and planned to develop the 4.77-acre site.

"We built it for a lot of future growth," said Don Wolfe, Warner Co. president and chief financial officer. "This store was built in a different time in the economy."

The move to Fig Garden means cheaper rent for Warner Co., he said.

CJS Properties filed for bankruptcy last year. After Casey Stephenson -- owner of Warner Co. and CJS Properties -- died in April 2008, lenders were unwilling to put up the $4 million needed to construct the other buildings, according to court records. Ownership of the building has returned to the lender, Wolfe said.

Warner Co. asked customers where they wanted the company to locate, and they "overwhelmingly" chose Fig Garden Village, Wolfe said. The new space is 8,700 square feet smaller than the current location, but Wolfe said they will retain their full staff.