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52 May 1 - 14, 2010

by Miachelle DePiano

The charm bracelet is new again, thanks to Pandora, a jewelry store located in the Santan Village. Don and Laurie Pratt, husband and wife owners of the new store, truly believe in the emotional power of the charms and jewelry they sell.

Pandora may seem like the newest jewelry trend, but the brand was started in Denmark in 1982, and has been in the United States for seven years. The Pratts opened their store in September 2009, and business is booming. Laurie was a Pandora merchandiser for six months, and after seeing lines of women at Pandora events, convinced Don they needed to open a store. Don, a former program manager for a construction consulting firm, was ready for a change and the Pratts embarked upon their first entrepreneurial adventure.

Pandora is affordable luxury jewelry for all women around the world, with the key philosophy of commemorating memories. “We have groups of women who wear the same bracelets to collectively celebrate specific moments they shared in their lives,” says Don. “We have women who are suffering breast cancer, and someone will come in here and get them a bracelet with the breast cancer bead. Friends and family add charms to the bracelet, and that woman can look at the bracelet and remember everyone who is supporting her.”

“The most poignant sale I remember,” adds Laurie, “is the day of police Lt. Eric

Neighbors

Pandora charms its way into hearts

Shuhandler’s funeral service. We had a customer come in and buy a blue/black bead in memory of him before going to his service.” The charms are made of sterling silver, 14- and 18-karat gold, wood and soon in white gold. Pandora beads are also made with enamel and Murano glass. Charms and beads are introduced in seasons, such as the Spring 2010 line that just came out, but not before a line is retired. Certain pieces of Pandora jewelry are so popular that it is not uncommon for the Pratts to have to backorder an item.

“If the bead or charm is available at another store in the United States, we can often get that item within 48 hours,” says Don. “Often times the value of the retired lines goes up in value, and you’ll see them for sale on eBay,” says Laurie.

In addition to charm bracelets, Pandora also makes necklaces, rings and earrings, and will be introducing a line of sunglasses, with a price range of $80 to $170.

Pandora is located in the C area of the Santan Village on East Williams Field Road, off the Santan Loop 202 Freeway. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 480-857-2000, or visit www.pandorasantan.com.

Miachelle DePiano, a Gilbert resident, is a technical writer and freelance photographer.

STSN photo by Miachelle DePiano

UNFORGETTABLE MOMENTS: Pandora owner Laurie Pratt, right, with Mary Lang, help customers put together the perfect bracelet.

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