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Wimmer's Diamonds buys land by Fargo's 32nd Avenue South and 45th Street

Brad Wimmer, co-owner of Wimmer's Diamonds, says the longtime Fargo firm now has more options with the purchase of land that can be used to build another store in southwest Fargo. Wimmer said the area around 32nd Avenue South and 45th Street is shaping up to be the Fargo-Moorhead area's next retail hub.

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Wimmer's Diamonds co-owners Brad Wimmer, left, and his son, Aaron Wimmer, are pictured in 2019 during the company's 100th anniversary. Brad Wimmer confirmed Thursday, Sept. 10, that the company had purchased land near the intersection of 32nd Avenue South and 45th Street in Fargo, offering the jewelry retailer options moving forward. (Forum File Photo by Helmut Schmidt)

FARGO - The owners of Wimmer’s Diamonds have purchased land near the intersection of 32nd Avenue South and 45th Street.

The purchase creates options to move the more than 100-year-old family business forward, co-owner Brad Wimmer said Thursday, Sept. 10.

“We’re trying to brainstorm what we’re doing with (the) West Acres and downtown” stores, Wimmer said. “We’re just bracing for the future.”

If it hadn’t been for the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wimmer said he and his son, co-owner Aaron Wimmer, might have already had the shell of a new shop already up.

“There’s so much going on downtown, there’s so much going on at the mall. We just thought it would behoove us to make sure we got a spot” in that fast-growing part of the metro area, Wimmer said.

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Now, plans to break ground are on hold.

Economic disruptions and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic have made this decision tough. Father and son plan to use the next few months to determine their business model going forward. Do they go with three stores; drop a store in consolidating; or perhaps stand pat, forego building, and figure out what to do with the land later?

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“Obviously, we’ve been down at the mall 35 years-ish and we’ve been downtown 100 years, so we’ve got some history,” Wimmer said.
“Until everything is finalized, we don’t really know if we’re putting up a building or not. It all depends on what happens with COVID and business during the rest of the year,” he said. “And then we’re going to decide if we’re moving forward, or if we’re laying low in downtown and West Acres and not push forward with a new location.”

Wimmer said the land is a patch of ground between The Tavern Grill and a nearby strip mall.

Like other retailers, the Wimmers are keeping an eye on how malls are faring as bricks and mortar shopping continues to shift to the internet. Wimmer said they are in talks with West Acres about their lease.

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The Wimmer's Diamonds store as it looked recently at the West Acres mall in Fargo. The long-time Fargo jewelry retailer recently purchased land at 32nd Avenue South and 45th Street in Fargo, creating some options for the future of the company, co-owner Brad Wimmer said Thursday, Sept. 10. (Helmut Schmidt / The Forum)

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In 2021, “everything comes to a head,” Wimmer said, adding “2021 will be a big year for us, one way or another.”

The new location is not without competition already in place. A Cutting Edge Gallery of Jewelry is perhaps a block or two away at 4507 33rd Ave S. Schmidt’s Gems & Fine Jewelry is at 3241 42nd St S, Fargo. Crown Jewels is at 4487 Calico Drive S. And the relative newcomer to the area, Gunderson’s Jewelry, is just off Veterans Boulevard at 5601 28th Ave. S.

But competition hasn’t seemed to bother the Wimmer family much. Three jewelry stores, Kay Jewelers, Helzberg Diamonds, and Zales are also at West Acres.

In the downtown area, there’s Royal Jewelers and Etherial Atelier, as well as on the east side of the Red River, with Puffe’s Fine Jewelry in Moorhead’s Center Mall and Eide’s Jewelry on Highway 10.

Last year about this time, the Wimmer family was celebrating 100 years and four generations in the jewelry business.

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The Wimmer's Diamonds downtown Fargo location at 602 Main Ave., seen Thursday, Sept. 10. (Helmut Schmidt / The Forum)

Wimmer called it a proud moment in the history of Wimmer’s Diamonds.

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“There’s not that many businesses that can claim they’ve been around for 100 years and can claim they have customers from many generations of the same family,” he said.

Wimmer said that no matter what, buying the southwest Fargo property is a good move. He figures the area from Veterans Boulevard to 45th Street and 32nd Avenue South is becoming the Fargo-Moorhead metro area’s next retail hub.

“We’ve always tried to pick a prime area. …. We’ve tried to pick retail hubs, and it seems to have worked for us,” over the last 100 years, Wimmer said. “We think that will be the premiere retail location in North Dakota.”

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