Home Page Sterling Silver Flatware Store China Dinnerware & Gifts Store Crystal Stemware & Gifts Home Page Stainless Faltware Store Silver Plated Dinnerware Store Baby Gift Store Silverware Specials Ornaments Store Estate Store Polishing Products & Tarnish Cloth & Flatware Storage Bags Gift Store Bridal Registry Sterling & Silver plated Holloware Store Julep Cups Store Jewelry Store Close Outs Store Store Catalog Candlesticks, Candelabras, Votives, & Lighting Store Sterling Silver Goblets Picture Frames Store Chest Store We also Buy Search & Identify Pattern Email Us Store Policies Holloware Store

Building

 

Silver Queen Logo                 5 Stars

The Silver Queen and Belleair Coins, Gold & Diamonds Story: 
Stripe

How it all began in 1972:

It all began In 1972 when Master Sergeant Art Arbutine retired from the Air Force. He had collected British Crowns for 20 years while in the service and decided that he wanted to pursue the coin business full time.  He opened a small  700 square foot store in Belleair Bluffs, Florida and named it Belleair Coins.  He turned his once hobby into a full time profession. In the first years, he enlisted his wife Patricia Arbutine along with his three sons Greg, Chris and Jay into the business. He later hired his brother Gil Arbutine and nieces Beth Arbutine Race and Kathy Arbutine Edwards.


     Coin Shop A         Art and Pat          

The little coin shop started to diversify over the years and branched off into jewelry, silverware, collectibles, watches and other areas of fine art.  Art's wife Patricia Arbutine  became especially interested in the estate sterling flatware and holloware and recognized  that these items were worth far more than just the scrap out prices that the family had  been previously selling them for.   She decided to do a spin off company  and thus The Silver Queen Inc. was born.    

Belleair Coins 1972            Francis

 

Stripe

Silver Queen Logo

From 1978 to 1986:



   Pat    Sell your high end silver hollowware and tea sets                      

Patricia began aggresively buying and selling  sterling silver flatware and initially was just selling  to other wholesalers but eventually started branching out by advertising nationally in "The  Antique Trader" and  other magazines.   She established a firm retail and wholesale mail order business and customers started calling her and her right hand person  Beth Arbutine Race to help assist them with matching their patterns and to find the pieces missing to their flatware services.

    4 servers

 

   BCI 1983    Beth

 

1984

 In 1983, a few years after the 1980 gold and silver rush created by the  Hunt Brothers, the  store needed to move out of its cramped quarters and so we purchased the property next door and built a 1,750 square foot store front. 

Eventually the store would expand in the 1990's to around 5,750 square feet taking over the adjacent tenants next door in the strip plaza.

     art    Old Store

    

Stripe

 
Silver Queen Logo

1987  to 2002

After graduating from The  University of South Florida in 1987, the oldest son Greg Arbutine also caught the passion for silver and  went to work full time for the two companies.   Made the President and CEO of The Silver Queen Inc.  in 1990, Greg made the business grow by leaps and bounds through his aggressive national marketing, internet and computerization skills, catalog designing ability, buying expertise, improvements in efficiencies, and excellence in customer service throughout the years.    From 1987 to 2002 the store experienced expansive growth and eventually more room was needed.

Greg and Pat     Lion    Savannah Reed and Barton       

Pictured: Savannah Sterling by Reed & Barton.   In the 1990's The Siver Queen Inc. did a lot of made to order sterling patterns in bulk orders of 200 or more settings that were exclusive to  us.  We marketed: Savannah, Florentine Lace, Debussy, Lion, Lancaster and a few others.

 

1992

Photo from 1992 pictured:  Patricia Arbutine, Greg Arbutine, Beth Race, Janet Woodhouse, Alan Johnson, Pat Yaeger, Kathy Edwards

Francis Tea Set

Pictured: Francis 1 Sterling Silver Tea and Coffee Set

 

Printed Catalogs 
In 1990 Greg Launched our first printed catalog.  For almost 20 years the catalog was our main driving force for bringing in the sales.  However, as the internet age of e-commerce and shopping became solidified the catalogs started to take a back seat to the internet sales.   We stil produce a catalog today, but is is smaller and less frequently produced, currently only once per year for the holiday season.

 

1990 Catalog            1999 Catalog            2000 Catalog            2005 Catalog

 

Wholesale Books - We also used to print a wholesale catalog from 1990 to 2013 that we distributed periodically throughout the year.  However, it to dropped off to the point that it was not worth printing anymore and we now work exclusively with our antique shop accounts, show dealers, jewelry stores, coin and pawn shops  on-line with our wholesale prices inventory on a separate website.  If you are dealer looking to buy wholesale from us (you must be a legitimate re-seller of silverware), please call 727-581-6827 and ask for our sales department to help you get set up or apply on-line at:
http://www.silverwholesale.com/Info/Apply-to-be-a-dealer-form

Wholesale Book

 

China and Crystal Department 
In 1998, Greg decided to add fine china and crystal to our products mix.  It seemed like every other customer calling the store asked if we carried tableware, so we figured why not?  We added Waterford, Lenox and  Royal Doulton  initially and later on added many many more brands, see:
http://www.silverqueen.com/store/shop-by-brands
       Waterford       Lenox       Royal Doulton

 

Old Store


Lion

 

Stripe


New Location


Ground Breaking

 Silver Queen Logo 

Our new building in year 2002

After 4 years of planning, CEO Greg Arbutine and his Partner Alan Johnson procured the land (an old AmSouth Bank building), developed the building plans, designed the showroom layout,  personally financed the down-payment money, and re-located the businesses in year 2002 to its current location at 1350 West Bay Drive, Largo, FL 33770.    It was especially gratifying because we had a failed attempt at another property in Belleair Bluffs that didn't work out.   Greg drove by the bank property for sale in Largo one morning and said "Hey that for sale sign wasn't there yesterday."  We immediately pounced on it and gleefully beat  out the  Doctor's Group who  was also considering making an offer, but it was too late for them.

The  move was a huge success overall for the businesses.  This phenomenal location has 10 times more drive by traffic then where we were in Belleair Bluffs, and the building has become a local landmark with its bold dome design.   Greg once referred to their design as the capitol of silverware.  Many locals describe the building it as the "Taj" of Largo.  Also, business wise, with the increased exposure and visibility of the building, the companies didn't need to do as much advertising and were able to save money over the long haul, which was a great thing economically.

To read more about our move, --- please see Article Published in The St. Pete Times:
http://www.belleaircoins.com/Info/New-Location-Article-in-St-Petes-Times-2002


Building

Tour

 

 

Silver Museum
In  the new location we were also finally able to open our Silver Museum.    Greg and Pat had set aside many  gorgeous pieces of silver flatware and holloware over the years that they described as too nice to sell.    
For more information please visit:
https://www.facebook.com/TheSilverMuseum

 

Museum      Greg and Pat

 

 Stripe


Silver Queen Logo

2003 to Present: 

 MarteleGreg & Pat   Pitcher

 

The Retail  Jewelry Department blossomed in the new location growing from a former sales of $350,000 annually  to a now $1,750,000 per year, after having added jewelry repair, appraisals, and much larger showroom and incrediible jewelry inventory.  Manager and Cousin: Kathy Edwards Arbutine has also been a key player in the success of the jewelry department with her upbeat and happy attitude, expertise and extraordinary attention to customers.

Kathy        Rings

 Pictured: Jan, Nancy and Kathy

 

Jewelry Flyers
Greg also contributed greatly to the growth of the jewelry department starting in 2003, with the introduction of full color direct mail jewelry flyers that he produces inclusive of the photography, graphical layout and conceptualization.  They are sent out 7 times a year mostly to our local customers and feature our sale events inclusive of Valentine's Day, Spring Sale Events, Christmas in August, our Annual Garage Sale, Thanksgiving it away sale, Black Friday, Christmas and more.  

Jewelry Flyer         Rolex

Earrings        Rings

Event

 

 

 

 Dollar           BCI Logo            Gold Coin

Belleair Coins, Gold and Diamonds
Under the direction of Greg's brothers:
Chris and Jay Arbutine who are experts in buying and marketing, they grew the jewelry and  gold buying operations in the new building at Belleair Coins, Gold and Diamonds  from a previous annual sales of 4 million per year to a now staggering annual sales amount of between $30,000,000 - $50,000,0000 per year.   The new building was huge factor in the increases and gave the business a lot more credibility in the community and also enabled a larger capacity for parking which was especially needed in the gold rush days of 2007 to 2013 when the metals prices sky-rocketed.    Also integral in the growth was that Jay Arbutine the CEO of Belleair Coins, Gold and Diamonds showed himself to be financial genius in coming up with all the additional financing and working capital that was needed to fund the explosive gold rush boom time, as well as working round the clock hours.  

It also didn't hurt that in this same time period of the gold rush, Chris Arbutine became the   Mayor of Belleair Bluffs, Florida which is only one mile from the store and with his 10,000 plus contacts and respected political clout, this really got the word of mouth out there about the businesses which is the kind of indirect advertising and promotion that money can't buy and is essential to almost any successful business model.   Chris was also a genius at overseeing the production of our local quirky Television commercials that have proven to bring in the customers.

TV1       TV2      TV3      TV3


 
Live Spot Prices                  

Gold

Francis Kettle Sterling

 Silver Queen Logo

Ironically, The Silver Queen portion of the overall business which had done 7 million annually in the previous location now does only  between 3-4 million per year in annual sales.   We had projected to do 10-12 million, but with the advent of Ebay, increased on-line competition, and a continued down trend from formal dining these factors all weighed in heavily in the retrenchment.   Plus, when the economy is down The Silver Queen side of the business, which is highly retail oriented, suffers greatly.  Lastly, the spike in silver prices from 2003-2013 dramatically lowered the overall  demand for sterling flatware.

Locally, however sales have increased and moving forward the business has become more emphatic on better serving The greater Tampa Bay area and local population by offering more gift brands like Swarovski, Baccarat, Waterford, Lladro, Versace and many other prestige manufacturers of fine gifts and jewelry. 

Nationally, with the price of silver so high we have actually gravitated to carrying in stock a lot more high end items like Tiffany, Gorham Martele, Old English Georgian Pieces, Kirk Repousse holloware, Francis 1 Coffee Sets and so forth.   We've never had a better selection of incredible holloware pieces in stock like we now have today.

 Catalog 2012       Catalog 2012       catalog 2013       

   ServerPitcher

 

 

 

Stripe

 

Greg, Chris, Jay

Pictured Above:  Jay Arbutine, Chris Arbutine, Greg Arbutine

Silver Queen Logo

The Present Day:

The good news is that the businesses  combined are still going very strong under the management of the second generation owners: the three brothers Greg, Chris and Jay.    Currently,  Belleair Coins, Gold and Diamonds and The Silver Queen Inc. have combined gross annual sales of between  30-50 million dollars per year, are still housed in a 14,500 square foot building,  and still gainfully employ most of the Arbutine family and many closely trusted long term staff members.    Original founders and first generation owners Art and Pat Arbutine are semi-retired but still come in part time and their love for the business is still burning strong to this day.  There is also a third generation on the horizon which hopefully will continue the resounding success of these two incredible companies.

art & pat       art and Pat       Art and Pat Silver

Pictured Above:  Pat and Art Arbutine
(Photo from a cruise ship they were recently
on, 
relaxed in semi-retirement)

 

 

Please come visit us today and learn more about our family owned business that has been trusted since 1972.  We are your local friendly experts that  you can trust.

Stripe 

 

 

Our Building

 

 

 

Silver Queen Logo

About The Silver Queen:

Since 1972, The Silver Queen Inc. has specialized in sterling silverware. With over 12,000 patterns in stock and 165,000 pieces in inventory to choose from, we have one of the largest inventories of active and discontinued sterling patterns in the U.S. We carry both estate/pre-owned and factory fresh brand new silverware. Our estate silverware is professionally restored to “like new” condition with a 100% satisfaction guaranty. Most is obtained from estate collections and jewelry store buy-outs and sold at prices far below regular retail. We also carry factory fresh first quality silverware from the finest silversmiths. 

 Staff Shot 

 

Foot note: When I wrote the above article I tried  to sprinkle in some business stuff, some human interest stories and a fair and balanced history of our companies.  If I didn't mention everything it was due to trying  to abridge  it a little bit.   If you have any questions or comments feel free to email me at:  Greg@SilverQueen.com  Thanks!
Last Updated:  1-7-2017

 

Our Media Articles Archives:

George Whalin

In year 2008 Our Store was 
featured as a chapter in
George Whalin's Book
"Retail Superstars"

Southern Living

In year 2003 Our Store was 
featured in the September 
Issue of "Southern Living."

Southern Living

In year 2003 Our Store was 
featured in the September 
Issue of "Southern Living."

Belleair Bee

In year 1992 The Belleair
Bee interviewed Pat 
and Greg Arbutine

2006 Press Release 
In year 2006 We released
a some what comprehensive
press release about our store
and its history.

New Location 
In year 2002 The 
St. Petersburg Times did
a huge article about
our store Re-location

Tampa Tribune 
In year 2004 The Tampa
Tribune featured The Silver 
Queen and the Silver Matching
Industry Nationally as a Whole

Martele 
In year 2006 The Silver Queen
sponsored "The Magnificent, 
Marvelous Martele Sterling
Silver Exhibition" in St.Pete, FL

 

Stripe

Print Media Archive Virtual Tour You Tube   Our TV Commercials