A reader asked:
I would appreciate it if you could answer a question for me. Is there a Black jewelry company that still operates in Charlotte? His shop was vandalized doing the riot after George Floyd’s killing. He also was interviewed on the news and stated that he had insurance and would continue. Any information that you could provide would be greatly appreciated. ~ Jerome Beauford
Thanks for your question, Jerome.
In May 2020, while the George Floyd protests were happening in uptown Charlotte, James Mack’s jewelry store, Epic Times, was vandalized. The store was located in the former Epicentre.
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According to Mack, looters entered the store and caused $30,000 in damages from product loss and vandalism.
In an Instagram post that included security footage from the break-in, Mack said: “Black-on-black crime!!!! Hurt the black-owned businesses!! Is that justice… now we got to pay!!!!”
WBTV News quoted Mack as saying he watched the vandalism and theft through security camera footage on his phone as it happened. This marked the second time his store had been vandalized. Mack said the store had suffered similar damages four years earlier, in the fall of 2016, when protests came to uptown Charlotte following the police killing of Keith Lamont Scott.
Months after the 2020 vandalism, Mack’s business faced another obstacle: the Covid-19 pandemic. As pandemic restrictions took hold and non-essential businesses were shut down, he said, his sales fell to zero.
Mack reopened his business out of a WeWork space on Tryon Street, where he does private consultations for ring designs and catalog orders. It’s now called James Mack’s Fine Jewelry.
In addition to his Charlotte location, Mack has opened a retail store in Mary Brickell Village, an upscale shopping and entertainment destination in downtown Miami.
Legacy magazine, which publishes in south Florida, said Mack’s jewelry store was the first Black-owned business to open in Brickell. QCity Metro could not confirm that claim.
In a January interview with Legacy, which was posted on Facebook, Mack said he stumbled upon the Brickell location while attending a wedding reception in the city.
“God had it all set out and planned for me,” he said in the video interview, “because the energy was spectacular.”
Mack said he travels between Charlotte and Miami and has no plans of leaving the Queen City, the home of his first brick-and-mortar store. (He operated out of the EpiCentre for seven years.)
Mack said he has had opportunities to work at Northlake Mall and on West Boulevard, but he keeps his eyes set on uptown, where it all started.
Mack said he tried to secure spaces in South End and at SouthPark Mall but hit dead ends.
Mack said his goal is to become known as a luxury jeweler, similar to brands such as Tiffany & Co. and Cartier.
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