Store History - C. Leslie Smith website

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Store History

C. Leslie Smith was founded in 1955, when Charles Leslie Smith Jr. decided to move from a teaching job in precious metal craft at the Philadelphia College of Art and devote his full time to the creation of unique silver jewelry. The first retail store was located in what was at the time the lower level of a barn in west Allentown, near Trexler Park. This was primarily a workshop for wholesale jewelry production, with a small retail counter and antique cash register.

Since successful retail stores were all located in center city, Les decided to move the newly blossoming silersmith studio to a small retail shop located in a basement on N. 9th St., Allentown.  There he handcrafted silver and gold jewelry with an artistic flair that soon became popular due to his fresh approach to design, weight, and quality.

As his reputation grew over the next few years he moved to a larger store at 1135 Hamilton St., a thriving retail area in the late '50's. By 1963 the silversmith shop outgrew it's location once again and it was relocated to a 2,200 square foot retail store located at 921 Hamilton St., in the heart of the retail community.  This storefront was home to our workshop and base of operations for over thirty years.

Several satellite stores were opened during the late 1960's and early 1970's, including locations in downtown historic Bethlehem, Peddler's Village in New Hope, Pa., and The Appletree, in Lancaster, Pa.  Direct daily control of the operations of some of these far-flung satellites was difficult however, and only the store in Bethlehem, now located in the revitalized south side, survives to this day.  During this period Les also decided to end the wholesale distribution of jewelry as well, in order to maintain enough stock for our own retail stores.

In 1982 Les saw an opportunity to open a new satellite store, this time in the blossoming west end of Allentown.  The Village West, a new strip mall in South Whitehall Township opened with C. Leslie Smith as one of it's first dozen stores in 1982.  It quickly surpassed the declining sales of the downtown Allentown store and in 1995 the painful decision was made to finally move out of center city Allentown and focus solely on the newly expanded Village West store.  

In April, 2008, C. Leslie Smith passed away after a long battle with congestive heart failure.  Operation of C. Leslie Smith, Inc. passed to his son, Charles Leslie Smith 111.

In the spring of 2014 Charles Smith moved the store from the Village West into an even larger, 6,500 square foot location at the Shops at Cedar Point, back within the city limits of Allentown.  Although remodeling was necessary for part of the location it was felt that the new venue and vastly larger floorplan would give more room for the unique gifts and art that makes C. Leslie Smith stand out from the everyday gift & jewelry stores.  

Today C. Leslie Smith is located in the Shops at Cedar Point, 311 S. Cedar Crest Blvd., Allentown PA 18103.  Jewelry production and custom jewelry work is currently carried on by Robert Trump and Nadine Smith.  Our jewelry is still handmade with over 60 years of experience, using the same formula and design philosophy that made C. Leslie Smith Silversmiths a household name.  


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