TAHOE CITY, Calif. - Walking into Bluestone Jewelry, the first person, or dog, you're likely to meet is Bo.
A tiny 1-year-old pup, Bo is dressed in festive Santa attire as he greets customers shopping for last-minute gifts for their friends and family.
"I love this time of year," said Marc Bigelow, as customers walked through the doors shortly after opening on a cold December morning.
Bigelow, who owns the store with his wife, Linda Bigelow, has jewelry and watches for all occasions and price points. From the popular Lake Tahoe jewelry to local designers Minchou and Janice Carson, the Bigelows have a wide selection of jewels for that special someone in your life.
The homey store opened in December 2007, after the couple moved from Michigan to Tahoe to fulfill Linda's dream of living in the mountains. When the location in downtown Tahoe City opened, they knew it was the right time to open up shop.
Warm and inviting, the store feels more like a friend's home than a retail space. Bluestone also has a selection of photography on the wall, all inspired by Lake Tahoe.
"We started from the ground up," Bigelow said. "Every year it's been growing steadily."
After five years, Bluestone recently opened a second location in Truckee.
"A spot opened up in Truckee and we thought, well this is time," Bigelow said of the idea to open a second shop.
The store in Truckee aims to combine some of the finer things in life, including jewelry, wine and food. The shop has a "Wine Mine," Bigelow explained, which features a selection of wine from smaller vineyards such as Sierra Foothills. Bigelow added that the store wants to feature smaller vineyards, since he and his wife operate a small, family-owned business.
"It's been fun for us to expand that area," Bigelow said of getting into wine and select foods.
Bluestone Jewelry has a master jeweler who has 36 years of experience, Bigelow said. Bluestone is a full service repair shop, covering everything from installing watch batteries to converting jewelry and creating custom pieces.
While the store has a variety of pieces, Bigelow expressed that one of the most important parts of the business is having price points for every customer.
"Our whole goal is to have price points, where if you want to get something for $25 or $50 or a lot more, we can fit your budget. We build pieces that are affordable," Bigelow said. "We try to have unique styles and things that are more cutting edge."
Bigelow explained that most of the pieces in the store can be made info custom articles by adding different stones or cuts.
"Custom is growing for us. People want something different," he added.
Another growing aspect of the business is men's jewelry. The store has a selection of watches, bracelets and rings for men. And for men who are shopping for their significant other, the staff is happy to help pick out just the right piece.
"It's fun this time of year to see the guys come in," Bigelow said, adding that items can always be returned if they're not quite right."