Most of us think of this Pearl Street building as the home of J.O. Endris and Son, a jewelry store owned and operated by Bob Caesar, whose father purchased the business from the Endris family in 1968. The Endris company was originally founded in 1880, and Caesar set up shop at this location in 1976.
In late 2014, Caesar announced he’d be shuttering his jewelry business, as opposed to selling it. Obviously, 135 years in retail is a fine run.
Merchandise was sold off through early 2015, and the building went on the market. It was purchased by Matt and Jessica Bergman, who previously (and legendarily) rehabilitated the decrepit Wilcox Building around the corner at 135 E.Market, where the Frenchman cooked and Adrienne and Co. Bakery Cafe currently operates, with the Bergmans living upstairs.
The New Albany Historic Preservation Commission has done the research about the background of the Bergmans’ new project.
314 Pearl Street
New Albany, IN 47150
Built in 1914 on the former site of the Crystal Theater, this building has seen numerous owners and a variety of businesses – including Stein’s Shoes and Williams Bakery – since. The photo below, from the collection of the Indiana Room of the New Albany-Floyd County Library, shows the building as Williams Bakery during the 1937 flood.
In 1976, J.O. Endris Jewelers purchased the building and relocated their store here. Endris Jewelers was founded in 1880 and is a state-recognized Centennial Business. An extensive rehabilitation was completed in 2004.
Their plan for the former Endris Jewelers site is similar to that of the Wilcox rehab, though the Pearl Street building comes in much better condition. The ground floor will be leased for retail, and the upper two floors will be living space.
At present the ground floor is being stripped of drywall, drop ceilings and cabinetry, all the way back to brick and and the original tin, which merely needs to have the paint removed.
The work has progressed much further since these photos were taken last week. Note that many of the display cabinetry and cases used for jewelry are being repurposed for use upstairs; other sections have been sold. The future retail occupant has not been disclosed, but Matt says negotiations are underway. He also told me that when the loft area is further along, he’ll give us a look, so stay tuned.