The owner of Robert Haack Diamonds wants to reopen the former Stein’s Jewelers location on West Wisconsin Avenue, in downtown Milwaukee, as a jewelry and loan store, according to documents submitted to the city.
Bret Eulberg and a now former business partner bought Stein’s Jewelry and Loan in 2014 when the company was going through receivership. Eulberg and Robert Pack ran the business as a jewelry store until the end of 2016.
In a letter to the city, Eulberg says he and Pack had “different points of view on the future of the business” and decided to temporarily close the store.
After closing, they started negotiating with a group of Chicago investors to open a pawn shop at the store's 715 W. Wisconsin Ave. location. The city’s Board of Zoning Appeals approved a variance in March 2017 to allow the operation of a pawn shop at the location.
The Chicago investors, meanwhile, secured $100,000 to operate the store and provide for short-term pawn loans, according to the letter. But after the funding was set, the group struggled to put together an operating agreement that would work under Wisconsin law. After reaching a deal in December, the group found out they still needed a license from the city to operate as a pawn shop.
Eulberg says the Chicago investors stated getting frustrated with mounting expenses so he decided to buy them out earlier this month.
“We were also philosophically at odds with how the business should be run, as the Chicago investors wanted the location to operate as a full service pawn shop, and I suggested that we solely pawn jewelry,” Eulberg wrote, noting that’s where he has expertise.
According to the letter, Eulberg became sole owner of Wisconsin Avenue Jewelry and Loan LLC and Wisconsin Avenue Jewelry LLC on March 20. He says he has the jewelry inventory to fill the store and financing in place to handle potential loans.
“Ken Stein ran this location as a jewelry and loan store successfully in the past,” Eulberg wrote. “I request that I be granted the same opportunity.”
Eulberg said Monday he plans to operate the business under the Stein's name.
His letter also noted his Robert Haack stores, located in Greenfield and in Glendale, regularly work with law enforcement to identify stolen jewelry and return it to its rightful owner. He said he wants to be able to offer short-term loans to help people with bad or no credit.
“I’d rather that people deal with me and my employees than someone who is dishonest and will take advantage of a desperate situation,” Eulberg wrote.