Strolling the beautiful stretch of architecture that is the Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville, what also catches your eye is the array of fine dining and one-of-a-kind shops that immediately fills you with surprise and curiosity.
And as you wander down Page Avenue, you stop in your tracks. In a nearby storefront, a display case sparkles and shines. You’re standing in front of Roberto Coin, where everything within grasp is beautiful and true.
“It’s all about getting the right jewelry on the right girl,” said Steve Woolum. “I can look at someone and just know about what they’re wearing and what jewelry they have on as to what they’d be interested in here.”
For almost 30 years, Woolum has been immersed in the jewelry industry. Managing shops around the Caribbean and beyond, his talents and knowledge about high-end gems and jewelry is not only an asset to Roberto Coin but also a mainstay of trusted skill and longtime customer relationships within their Asheville store.
“Since we’re a brand, Roberto Coin is collection driven,” Woolum said. “And with a brand like ours, we focus on earrings and bracelets, because earlobes and wrists are like fingerprints—no two are alike.”
One of eight specialized boutiques in the world, the Asheville location remains the flagship Roberto Coin store in the United States. Recognized as one of the premier manufacturers of 18-karat white, rose, and yellow gold across the globe, the Italian company has displays in every Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Bloomingdale’s.
“With 18-karat, it means less copper content, which means it’s more flattering on the skin,” Woolum said. “And with the latest trend of rose gold, we do a tremendous peach gold—a better color to look at when people are thinking about rose.”
“There’s a quiet sophistication about Asheville, where you meet the most interesting people that have lived wonderful lives and done so many great things.”—Steve Woolum, Roberto Coin Asheville manager
Originally from North Carolina, Woolum never thought he’d return to his home state. After a long and bountiful stint in the Caribbean, he found himself at the helm of the Roberto Coin in Asheville when they opened the doors in December 2006.
“Downtown was still pretty quiet back then, but I remember there’d be these cars that would just stop in the middle of the road in front of the shop,” Woolum smiled. “And these well-dressed women would jump out, walk into the store and say, ‘Is this the Roberto Coin? There’s a store here?’ They just couldn’t believe it.”
And as the Asheville boutique has grown, in popularity and quality, so has the city itself outside their doors.
“Of course, we’ve seen huge changes with the new hotels being built and all the new businesses coming into downtown,” Woolum said. “And we love it.”
After almost a decade of residing in Asheville, Woolum takes pride in the people, places, and things that make this a sought-after and beloved destination, for residents and visitors alike.
“You find people passionate about the city because they chose this city,” he said. “There’s a quiet sophistication about Asheville, where you meet the most interesting people that have lived wonderful lives and done so many great things. People aren’t drawn here because of a job, they’re drawn here because they want to be here, and that makes all the difference.”