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Sylva business to close following owner’s arrest

jacksonAfter nearly 30 years in business, Sylva’s Jewelry Outlet on Main Street is scheduled to close Sept. 15.

“It’s just a good time,” said Jay Ball, who owns the store with his wife Irene. “We’re starting to enjoy our grandkids, and we’re ready to enjoy time off.”

The Balls have been considering closing for some time now, but the final decision comes on the heels of Jay’s indictment on federal charges of illegal gun and drug sales. Jay, who is out on bond, faces 13 charges, with Keith Hooper as a co-defendant on three of them. Agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms arrested him Aug. 7 after surrounding his store on Main Street. He had filed to run for Sylva’s town board before withdrawing his name prior to the deadline. 

The store has been an important part of the Ball’s life for the past 28 years, the place their children — and now grandchildren — have spent their childhood. “We can’t stress enough our heartfelt gratefulness for all the patronage over the last 28 years in business, but more importantly the friendships we’ve made,” the Balls said in a written statement. “We hope all our customers will continue to support the local businesses that make our area the greatest place to be.”

The charges are not the main reason for closing, Irene stressed. Health issues have made the day-to-day business of running the store more difficult, and over the years retirement has become increasingly attractive. 

“It (the charges are) is a contributing factor I’m sure deep down, but we’ve been thinking about this for several years,” Irene said, “and when you’ve done it for that many years it’s time.”

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Jay’s lawyer advised the couple not to comment on the legal situation. However, Irene said, “I would like to stress to people don’t believe everything you hear.”

Customers who have left repairs or layaway items at The Jewelry Outlet can pick them up there before Sept. 15 or make arrangements for later pickup by calling 828.506.7975. Money owed to the businesses can be mailed to 157 Jim Sellers Street, Sylva, N.C. 28779.

The couple will continue with their real estate endeavors, renting property they own on Main Street.  

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