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Apr 17, 2013 10:09 AM by Samantha Ptashkin

Sparkle in South Tucson: Gem and Bead Mall opens this weekend

SOUTH TUCSON, Ariz.- For two weeks out of the year gems and minerals are all the talk of Tucson.

But starting this weekend, a little bit of the sparkle is sticking around all year.

The new Gem and Bead Mall located at 2901 S. 4th Avenue is a 26,000 square foot facility, with more than 5,200 items. "From Brazil, Thailand, China," says Chuck Huller.

Huller works for Gem and Bead Mall, which is a national company that currently has stores in San Diego and Las Vegas. They saw a market in Tucson, where the annual Gem Show attracts thousands. "We're making this a destination point for individuals to come here and spend money year round, instead of just the two weeks they have during the show," Huller says.

Everything in the store is sold at wholesale price, which can range from $1 to $800.

There is an annual membership fee of $45 if you do not have a license. There is a $25 fee if you do have a license.

Other businesses along 4th Avenue are excited about the extra foot traffic the mall will bring. "We don't really do advertising, everything is word of mouth," says Alex Franco.

Franco manages a Mexican restaurant called Micha's. It's located right across the street from the mall and he hopes customers will head over for a bite to eat. "We're kind of at the end of 4th, so maybe it will bring that traffic to us."

The Gem and Bead Mall is holding a grand opening on Saturday, April 20 from 10am to 6pm.

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