Statewide: Eastern region, December 2015
From a 100-year-old loft studio overlooking the Pamlico River, Jim Fortescue and his wife, Amy, dream up designs for necklaces, earrings and other jewelry that have been worn by, among others, supermodels. After nearly three decades selling diamond and gold jewelry, the couple had an itch to create a nautical-themed line inspired by the estuaries of Jim Fortescue’s hometown of Washington. A jewelry-industry friend offered a suggestion: Why not contact Guy Harvey, an artist and marine biologist best known for his T-shirts featuring game fish and other nautical designs, and see if you can work together?
Soon enough, Fortescue sent examples and designs to Harvey’s Florida-based company and a licensing deal was struck. “We were accidentally successful,” Fortescue says.
Fortescue learned the craft of jewelry repair at his father’s downtown store, Washington Jewelers, which is still in operation after 53 years. He struck out on his own in 1982 and settled into a solid, slow-growing business wholesaling diamond and gold jewelry to retail stores. Today, Guy Harvey brand designs make up 90% of his sales at Key Lime Bay Jewelry, and Fortescue is phasing out his legacy business. Instead of working as a wholesale dealer, Fortescue is firmly focused on e-commerce.
Models in Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue, including Matthews native Brooklyn Decker, have worn his jewelry, which is sold at Harvey’s retail store in Georgetown, Grand Cayman. The best sellers are pieces of hand-fired glass over sterling silver decorated with images of sea turtles and porpoises.
Though Fortescue and his wife still create the concepts, production — as many as 100,000 pieces per year — is contracted out at factories in the United States, Mexico and Thailand. “We’ve just been very fortunate,” Fortescue says.
MOREHEAD CITY — Novant Health entered a shared-services agreement with Carteret Health Care to help the 135-bed hospital cut costs through increased purchasing power. The Winston-Salem-based health system in November ended a similar partnership with 261-bed Lenoir Memorial Hospital in Kinston after less than a year. Novant also planned to close Franklin Medical Center in Louisburg this month due to declining patient volumes, idling 208 employees.
WILMINGTON — North Carolina State Ports Authority named Alherd Kazura chief financial officer, a new position. He held various positions at Charlotte-based Horizon Lines since 2004 and had worked for Sea-Land Service and CSX. The port earned $6.8 million in the last fiscal year.
WILMINGTON — Jay Wileman became president and CEO of GE Hitachi following parent General Electric’s $10.6 billion acquisition of France-based Alstom’s power business. Wileman was chief operating officer since 2012. He replaces Caroline Reda, who will move to Atlanta to lead GE’s Power Services business for North America.