Les Foley, was a salesman for Eveready Batteries and began buying and selling jewellery in his own time. His hobby soon developed into a full-time business and he would travel around the large hotels selling his jewellery at wholesale prices.
In 1981, Iceland vacated a shop in Heswall and Les set up Hallmark Jewellers in its place. They papered over the blue tiles of the frozen food shop and opened for business. Back then, Hallmark was a discount jewellers and pawnbrokers, a real Aladdin’s cave.
Around 2001, Les decided the time was right to pass the baton on and retired. Yvonne, his wife, had already left the business so it was now up to Jan and her sister Nicky to take the reins. It was to be a business like no other when a spate of robberies, in broad daylight, threw the girls into the limelight, the national press and unfortunately hospital.
Masked robbers entered the jewellers and began helping themselves to the stock. Nicky and Jan could not let their hard work disappear with some chancers and locked the front door to stop them escaping. A vicious attack of kicking and punching did not deter the ladies and they managed to hold off until the police arrived.
Another occasion saw Jan run out of the shop in pursuit of an assailant and give chase for over half an hour in high heels. She recovered her jewels. Such tenacity, such passion to defend what is theirs.
In 2012, Hallmark was transformed by way of a £196,000 refit. The new, bright, modern jewellers was everything Jan had always wanted, and it gave her the platform to develop the business and help more people.
Involvement in the community has always been important to Jan and local charities are the beneficiary of Hallmark’s generosity. It began through personal tragedy when Jan’s brother died, aged just 17, from muscular dystrophy. Giving back can often heal a grieving wound and a door opened by an old friend, Mandy Molby, did just that. Mandy was a founder member of Wirral Witches and Jan helped out with donations of jewellery to raise funds.
The charitable donations were never shouted about and nothing was expected in return. Hallmark have now adopted Incubabies as their chosen charity after Jan’s grandson, Seb, was in the premature baby unit at Arrowe Park.
When the refit happened in 2012, Hallmark decided to become eco-friendly and changed their packaging to suit. Today, they are 90% there and continue to strive to become a green business.
All the jewellery and diamonds at Hallmark are ethically sourced and they adhere strictly to the Kimberley Process.
It is fair to say that Hallmark Jewellers really are ‘The jewel in our town”.