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Family to Regain Ownership of Gearys

May 05, 2003|Hanah Cho | Times Staff Writer

Ownership of Gearys of Beverly Hills, a merchant of fine china, jewelry and collectibles, is returning to the family that operated the Westside retailing fixture for 44 years.

Thomas Blumenthal has agreed to buy the business from Ross-Simons Inc., the Rhode Island-based operator of 14 jewelry and gift stores that acquired Gearys in 1997.

Blumenthal's grandparents, Fred and Ruth Meyer, purchased Gearys in 1953. The store was then passed on to the couple's son, Bruce Meyer, who ran the business until it was sold to privately held Ross-Simons.

Terms of the transaction, which was expected to close today, were not disclosed. Gearys also would not disclose annual revenue figures.

"It was a strategic move," said Robert Simone, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Ross-Simons. "We wanted to focus on Ross-Simons, and with Gearys being a unique store, we saw more growth potential in the Ross-Simons piece."

Established in 1930, Gearys has long been a mainstay in Beverly Hills. It was best known for its china, silver and crystal collectibles when Ross-Simons added fine jewelry and watches, including the David Yurman and Rolex labels, to its collection.

As Gearys' new president and chief executive, Blumenthal said he has a number of plans for the 15,000-square-foot store on Beverly Drive, one block from famed Rodeo Drive, including establishing a bridal registry Web site and relaunching the store's direct-mail business.

Blumenthal, 38, began working at his grandparents' store when he was 13 and remained senior vice president of Gearys under Ross-Simons.

His taking the helm of the store is a "natural progression for me in the company," Blumenthal said, noting that his uncle, Bruce Meyer, and his parents, Jack and Susan Blumenthal, will be on the board of directors.

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