Tom Cook Jeweler is celebrating 125 years in business.
A little water doesn’t stop a business that’s been operating for 125 years. After a lot of hard work drying carpeting after Hurricane Irma flooded Beach Street, Tom Cook Jeweler reopened Sept. 18.
Sheryl Cook and her sister, Vicki Cook Leonhardt, grew up in the business and they’ve seen many changes on the historic street.
Sheryl Cook said several businesses on the street were hurt badly by the recent storm and it will be months before some are fully restored, but she believes the street will come back. The planned Brown and Brown Insurance building will be a huge addition, she said.
Cook, who resides in Ormond Beach, remembers as a child when she and Vicki would make and sell bows at the store when the street was the “downtown.”
“We sold them for a penny each,” she said. “We could have made more money but we kept stopping to count how much we had.”
They would then visit a Krystal’s Restaurant and perhaps see a movie at the theater on the street.
She remembers a J.C. Penney’s, Sears, Ivy’s and a big department store called Furchgotts. Even though those big box stores are now gone, Sheryl Cook sees a bright future for the street.
“We now have boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops,” she said.
‘WE KNOW A LOT OF SECRETS’
The business, located at 150 S. Beach St., is currently celebrating its 125th anniversary with 125 days of special events and sales that began on August 28. Their Facebook page announces the events, such as estate sales, exclusive offers and trunk sales, where suppliers offer their full line at the store.
The business was founded in 1892 by Vaclav Jule Pekor in Georgia. His son-in-law, Tom Cook, and Tom Cook Jr., moved the store to Beach Street in 1947. They moved to the present Beach Street location in 1963.
Cook Jr., the father of Vicki and Sheryl, started the Rotary/Easter Seals Golf Tournament. Now in its 40th year, it has raised $800,000. Their mother was national chairman of the board of EasterSeals.
The community involvement has continued, with the business involved in Daytona Beach Rotary Club, Junior League, Chamber of Commerce and more.
“It’s a way to give back to the community,” Vicki Cook Leonhardt said.
Her daughter, Ashley Leonhardt Lee, is the newest generation at the business and said she enjoys getting to know customers and learning about their engagements, proposals and other big events in their lives.
“We know a lot of secrets,” added Vicki Leonhardt, with a smile.
BACK IN BUSINESS
The family dealt with about six inches of water that flowed through the store during Hurricane Irma.
They were able to save the carpeting and have some damage to the bottom of some showcases that can be repaired, but it took a lot of work. They brought in wet-vacs, blowers and dehumidifiers.
“This river mud was not much fun,” Sheryl Cook said. “We were on our hands and knees just scrubbing.”