Business leaves Oregon District after 27 years

Longtime jewelry store owner says she was looking for a change

A longtime Oregon District shop has found a new home.

Sam Vacca has moved her shop, Sterling Studio, from 511 E. Fifth St. to a space within K12 gallery and Tejas, 341 S. Jefferson St.

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Vacca said Jerri Stanard, K12's founder and executive director, told her about the space as she was looking for a change.

The art center has four retail spaces, Rebecca Cantrell,  its development and marketing director, said.

Vacca specializes in stones, sterling silver jewelry, sterling jewelry repair and custom design work.

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Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

“I will be doing everything I did before,” she said.

Vacca will teach jewelry making and later silversmithing at K12. She wants to eventually add a lapidary (stone cutting) class.

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“I look forward to being a part of serving the community like K12 does,” she said.

She opened the business 27 years ago and it had been located in several buildings in and near the historic district.

After graduating from Kent State with a degree in fine arts, Vacca moved to New England to work in graphic design.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

“It was not art,” she said of her job. “It was what could we do to sell products.”

Vacca worked in an art gallery and a Hallmark store before buying a candy shop.

She moved back to Dayton in 1990 to help care for her sister, Michelle Valentine, who later died of cancer.

Vacca, who is of Italian descent, said she opened the studio using money from what would have been her dowry had she married.

She said she is essentially married to the shop so it worked out.

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