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Harry Fox opened a small gem store on Third Avenue in Seattle. He later sold the store to Herb Meltzer who moved Fox’s to The Skinner Building on Fifth Avenue. Meltzer hired Sid Thal as store manager. Sid had worked in the jewelry industry off and on during wartime and the Great Depression that followed.
Sid Thal purchased Fox’s in 1948 for $15,000 plus some money he borrowed from family. Married with two young children, Sid and Berta kept the name because they could not afford to repaint the sign on the door.
A classic 1954 Austin "London taxi" was purchased in an art auction by Berta and Sid Thal. The car was soon tied to Fox’s image. Sid was a sharp dressing Anglophile, who dressed in a British bowler hat, drove the cab around town. He was soon dubbed "the dapper man about town.” The bowler hat icon became part of the Fox’s Gem Shop logo. It represented Sid’s desire to bring style and sophistication to the young city, and to adorn its founders with fine jewelry.
Joy Thal joined the family business in 1975. She married Chai Mann in 1980 and soon after, the couple took over the management of Fox’s Gem Shop. Both had a background in art and were excited to bring a fresh perspective to a new generation of Fox’s clientele.
At age 83, Sid was appointed Advertising Manager and began writing short stories and musings about the business. They became a popular series of print ads and were later assembled in book form, titled: Loose Gems.
Completion of the Rainier Tower in 1977 allowed the new Fox’s Gem Shop to open their doors in 1979. The new store was a showcase of leading designers, all hand-picked by Joy and Chai for their artistry and originality. They also began sourcing their own gems more aggressively for custom designs. It was an intentional departure from large commercial companies to exclusive relationships with designers known for craftsmanship, exquisite design and exceptional quality.
Joy Thai Mann began doing the windows at Fox's in the late 70s. Her parents, the owners, Sid and Berta Thal, only trusted experts. But her fiancé, Chai Mann, was an artist and a teacher and they trusted him. Chai guided Joy and helped her to obtain an artist's eye. This was the beginning of Joy's reputation in Seattle as one of the more creative window designers of small independent shops. She won prestigious awards for window competitions in SAMs Black and White Ball and Pacific Northwest Ballet's Swan Lake. But above all, the holiday windows at Fox's have been a favorite for 35 years. On the Seattle circuit of things to do during the season, the antique teddy bear scenes with accompanying detail of Americana furniture and toys and ceramics, have been high on the list of things to see. Ten windows, six on Fifth Avenue and four on Union, always presented a challenge but delighted this artist and her public as well.
Zoey Mann returned to Fox’s in 2003, after earning her degree in education and theater. It was intended to be a short-term commitment, but once she was “back home” at Fox’s, she decided to continue the legacy. In 2004, Zoey met her future husband, Jordan. Today, they have two little girls who visit Fox’s often.
Fox’s Gem Shop celebrates 100 years in business.
Zoey was named President in 2013.Soon after, it was announced that Rainier Square – the home of Fox’s Gem Shop – would be redeveloped by the University of Washington. This presented an opportunity to refresh Fox’s to appeal to a new generation while maintaining a connection to a loyal client base.
Fox’s Gem Shop becomes Fox’s Seattle. With more than a century serving Seattle, the name, logo and brand identity evolved to Fox’s Seattle – with a script to resemble an artist’s signature. The design reflects the authentic, elegant and handcrafted jewelry found at Fox’s.
Fox’s announced an exclusive relationship with Fred Leighton. A new advertising campaign and e-commerce website were launched to better serve friends of Fox’s, both near and far.
Fox’s Seattle now resides at The Fairmont Olympic Hotel at 4th & University. The new boutique space was designed by renowned architects, George Suyama and Jay Deguchi of Suyama, Peterson & Deguchi. The space celebrates the beauty of the northwest and showcases stunning designer jewelry and Swiss and German watches. Be sure to visit the new home of Fox’s Seattle where you’ll find exquisite vintage pieces from Fred Leighton, the latest collection from your favorite designers, and special pieces from talented newcomers.