Louisiana Gold Market, a division of Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry, has opened a gold-buying store in the Mall of Acadiana. Hoping to keep local residents from sending this valuable commodity out of state, the store pays competitive prices for unwanted or broken jewelry, diamonds, gold coins and watches.

Louisiana Gold Market opened May 5 and is beginning to pick up steam, says manager Jody Hadley, who also helped launch the first Louisiana Gold Market in the Mall of Louisiana last November. “Word of mouth is kind of getting out,” Hadley says.

Gold prices are soaring — Bloomberg reports today that gold futures for June delivery rose $15.10, or 1.3 percent, to $1,191.20 an ounce on the Comex in New York, noting that a close at that price would mark the biggest gain for a most-active contract since May 12.

People are rushing to take advantage of the extra money their old jewelry and coins can fetch (keep in mind the futures prices are for 24 karat gold). Louisiana Gold Market doesn’t discuss pricing over the phone, Hadley says, so you’ll have to bring your gold into the store, located in the former Gap Kids spot. Gap Kids took over the old Kirkland’s in the Macy’s wing as part of a recent reshuffling of spaces at the mall, which is owned by CBL & Associates Properties.

When moderately priced clothing and accessories store Forever 21 opens in late September or early October, occupying 14,000 square feet of what was previously seven spaces — including Ann Taylor, which closed its store last month — the mall will be fully occupied, says Brian Lutz, marketing specialist for CBL. The new Forever 21 storefront begins at Ann Taylor, across from Banana Republic, and incorporates all of the spaces up to JCPenney.

In March 2005, Los Angeles-based Forever 21 Inc. purchased Gadzooks Inc., along with all of its operating assets and 150 Gadzooks locations, among which was the store in Lafayette. “Gadzooks has been selling Forever 21 merchandise since the purchase but has kept the Gadzooks brand name,” Lutz says.

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