Yes, Bill Mares, the Vallejo jewelry icon, 79, had a heart attack.
However, despite previous reports, the only check Mares performed was after five days at NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield. Mares will not be closing DeMares Jewelers this year, next year or for the foreseeable future, he said Thursday.
“My health is good… very good,” Mares said, jokingly adding that he could live to 100 – “depending on how you count. If you count by the tens, yes. If you count by the year to the year. times, I do not know.
While he may have considered quitting immediately after the heart attack, he said there was no way he would retire for the foreseeable future, crushing false reports and rumors.
“We’re going to be here for quite a while. We are celebrating our 51st anniversary and we have no intention of stopping, ”said Mares, a Vietnam veteran.
Mares believes stress caused the November 27 heart attack, less than a month after three masked men demolished much of the front door and took nearly five minutes to collect $ 60,000 in gems around midnight Halloween. Despite three frantic “911” calls to police, Mares said officers did not show up for an hour and 45 minutes.
The police dispatch told him that “we are trying to find a unit.”
DeMares Jewelers was previously the victim of an armed robbery in 2007 and Mares said the police response was immediate.
“The (former) chief (Bob Nichelini) was out within five minutes, asking how we were doing,” Mares said, acknowledging the lack of officers available today.
“I know their hands are tied,” he said.
Mares lamented the lack of security at the Vallejo Plaza shopping center, with management eliminating security guards in favor of cameras – “which don’t stop crime.” They only show you what happened during the crime, ”Mares said.
Mares said the management of the square had reduced the 24/7 security guard hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. per day. Two months ago the security was eliminated, he said.
“Now I understand they hired a security company that comes in maybe twice a day,” Mares said.
He declined to comment on the improved security measures he allegedly took since the Halloween heist.
If he retires, his family is unlikely to continue the business, Mares said. His son, a Cal-Maritime graduate, “won’t do that” and Mares said when he finally quits his wife, Janice, working alongside him, will likely follow.
Until then, it’s business as usual. Hopefully, Mares said, without the rumors.
“I got about ten people saying they had heard the rumors that I was retiring,” Mares said. “I’m not.”
Also, he said, “I don’t know what I would do. I could watch football, but with the Raiders and 49ers, there are only two teams. So no, I’m not going to retire.
Mares started the business thinking it could last 20, 25 years. He doubled that.
“Who knew?” he said. “I started the store when I was 28. You don’t know.”