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“Shock and awe:” Large NYC gem gallery to open in second city: Meridian

Astro Gallery of Gems operates a huge retail store on 5th Avenue in New York City. Soon, the retailer will open in another city: Meridian.

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The company signed a lease to open a 4,000 square foot store in the Village at Meridian later this year. Owner Dennis Tanjeloff promises an experience of “shock and awe.”

“It’s going to rival any museum from Boise to LA. You will see some of the finest examples of minerals and fossils that you can see, feel, touch – and if you like them enough, you can take them home,” owner Dennis Tanjeloff said.

The store will offer a wide array of items rooted in natural history.

“It’s going to carry fossils, meteorites, minerals, metaphysical items, feng shui, interior design and more,” Tanjeloff said. “Anything having to do with natural history products all over the world.”

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Video of the NYC store shows a colorful display of rocks, shells, minerals and other items – all under dramatic lighting.

“We are one of the top dealers in the world of museum specimens for investment purposes,” Tanjeloff claimed. “Collectors collect these all over the world like fine art.”

The store will feature interactive components.

“We will have a kids’ section that will be interactive,” he said. “Kids will be able to crack geodes and have some experimental fun times to experiment with natural history.”

He said the store will have new procedures in the wake of COVID-19, and will follow state and local guidance – as well as things it learns from the NYC area.

NYC to Meridian

Astro Gallery of Gems’ future location at Village at Meridian. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

So, from NYC to Meridian?

Tanjeloff’s wife of 22 years grew up in the Boise area, and they visit often. When the saw the Village at Meridian, he felt this would be a good place to start a west coast expansion.

“On my last trip about a year ago, all her family took us for dinner at the Village,” he said. “That was the first time I saw a more east coast national brand-type of interactive mall that really would suit our brand.”

He said they hope to expand beyond Idaho – reaching into nearby states like Utah, Washington and California. He thinks Idaho is a good place to start.

“I think there’s an enormous amount of interest in Mother Nature in the whole west coast area, much more than New York – we live in a concrete world here,” Tanjeloff said. “You are in an outside society with exercise and hiking and mining. There’s a lot of history in Idaho with Kellog and Wallace – so it’s not something that will be shocking and new to Idahoans.”

Even with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, he’s bullish on the Boise area.

“I think Boise is exploding,” he said. “We did all the research – you see the amount of people moving into the area and making a home out of the area – there seems to be a tremendous amount of wealth.”

Astro Gallery of Gems is slated to open its Meridian store in the next three months.

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