AFTER more than 50 years in the Jewellery trade, it seemed Richard Burrell had got out of the game for good when he sold his eponymous store in the Royal Victoria Centre in 2014.
With a non-compete clause written into the sale making a return to jewellery almost impossible, the pub enthusiast appeared to find a new vocation to occupy his time when he purchased the Abergavenny Arms a few months later.
But just over two years on from the sale, and with the non-compete lapsing, Mr Burrell is back on the scene having set up shop once again with the help of his daughter and members of his former staff.
The store, named Richard Burrell, opened to customers on Monday and will specialise in designing bespoke jewellery in its own workshop.
Explaining what led him to return, the jeweller said: “I had no intention of coming back at first. However so many people would come up to me in the pub and ask when I would be returning. At first I thought they were jesting, but over time I began to feel like I should.”
Mr Burrell is keen to stress that he will not be as hands on this time, leaving most of the day to day running of the Chapel Place store to his daughter Gabby and former employee Matt Delves.
“This will be a family enterprise, and Matt is definitely part of the family,” explained Gabby, who had spent several years living in New Zealand before returning in July.
“I am very excited as we will have a lot of opportunity to shape the business,” she added.
Mr Delves, who has worked with Mr Burrell since 1993, is equally enthused by what he sees as the ‘challenge’ of setting up an entirely new enterprise.
Mr Burrell said when the premises he now occupies became vacant everything ‘fell into place’.
“It is an exclusive location to be in, and has the feel of the Brighton Lanes to it. This end of town has many quality shops and we can complement Harry Collins’s high end jewellers with ours which is pitched at the middle of the market – a position I felt needed filling in Tunbridge Wells.
“I miss my old customers, many have been very loyal, and look forward to this new beginning.”