A downtown jewelry store has settled into a new historic space that fits the vintage aesthetic of the treasures inside.
Argentum et Aurum closed its doors at 25 N. Main St. in January, but is ready to welcome back customers in its bigger space for a grand re-opening Friday at 111 S. Main St.
Originally opened at the end of 2020, the store started with mainly hand-casted rings, necklaces and other jewels, crafted by owner Monica Lara, who makes her jewelry in a rustic style to look and feel ancient, as if the holder is in possession of pirate treasure or some other relic.
Lara used to be a biologist and professor in Florida with her jewelry business on the side. When she moved to Fond du Lac in 2020, the community was right in the middle of both a classic Wisconsin winter and the pandemic.
“When my shop opened in the midst of (COVID-19) I was surrounded by empty shop fronts,” Lara said. “I believed that downtown Fond du Lac was too much of an overlooked treasure not to come back in a significant way.”
As activity grew downtown over the next two years, Argentum et Aurum also grew a following in the community and beyond, and added clothing, perfume, decor and other gifts.
With the rise in traffic and business doing well, the time felt right to transition from renting a storefront to owning her own space, she said. So, she moved to an Italianate-style building: new to her, but built in 1890.
“I believed in my business enough that I wanted my own space with the old-time charm that embodies my aesthetic,” she said.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s Main Street Bounceback Grant and downtown events contributed to more businesses opening and more people checking out not just Lara’s store, but all of downtown, Lara said.
She said her move was possible because of the grant, and in his Jan. 4 visit to Fond du Lac, Gov. Tony Evers stopped at Argentum et Aurum, and then shared her success story — and Fond du Lac’s — in his 2023 State of the State address.
[Adapted from: This jewelry store grew with Main Street. Now, it’s moved to an appropriately historic space February 9, 2023 Fond du Lac Reporter]