North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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October 2, 2013

Gardendale Jewelers to shut its doors

Owner Bob Boffa cites health issues

GARDENDALE — A longtime north Jefferson County business will be closing its doors in two to three months.

“Because of my health and the health of my family, this is our last Christmas,” said Bob Boffa, owner of Gardendale Jewelers.

Boffa, 61, bought the business in 1992. The store opened in 1967.

He has been in the jewelry business since he was 15, when he got a work permit in order to help out his family. His first job was at Uncas Jewelry and Accessories in Providence, R.I., where Boffa grew up.

A huge baseball fan, Boffa said that when he was 18, he was scouted by the Red Sox. However, he never pursued a baseball career because he injured his arm.

“In those days, there was no such thing as rotator cuff surgery,” he said. So he moved to the South, where the heat and humidity were supposed to lend healing properties to his shoulder.

Boffa started school at Montevallo, but then he met a girl named Bobbie. “I forgot all about Montevallo and baseball,” Boffa said with a smile.

The two were married, and Boffa worked for a short time at ACIPCO in Birmingham.

However, he shortly returned to the business he knew. He worked for Zayre for three years, and then Goldbro for 15 years before moving on to Service Merchandise for five years. There, Boffa earned a humanitarian award in 1992, along with two sales awards.

He still views the humanitarian award as one of his biggest accomplishments. He received it shortly before he bought Gardendale Jewelers.

It is a point of satisfaction with Boffa that the Gardendale store has always been family-oriented. Bobbie has worked there, along with their daughter Kathy, who is also a jeweler.

Another of their sons is Chris, a special-needs man who is well known in Gardendale.

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