With temperatures in New York City dipping below 20 degrees this second week of February, anyone could be forgiven for ditching Manhattan and embracing a warmer location. And that’s exactly what retailer Mish Tworkowski and his business and life partner Joseph Singer recently did. The pair have relocated their jewelry company and retail location, Mish Fine Jewelry, from Manhattan to Palm Beach, Fla., traveling that fabled snowbird corridor in a permanent move.
But the better (okay, fantastic) weather wasn’t their only reason: “Joseph and I love the idea of change—it wasn’t all necessarily a business decision,” Tworkowski tells The Zing Report. The designer, a CFDA member and a board of trustee member for the New York Botanical Garden, operated a store in NYC for 30 years, first on the Upper West Side, then (in this past decade) on Bond Street.
But he and Singer had been mulling at least a part-time move to Palm Beach since 2018, when they began considering retail spaces on the island.
Then came the COVID-19 pandemic. The couple retreated to their Millbrook, N.Y., home and became accustomed to daily life surrounded by nature and quiet. During the pandemic’s early days, when life slowed to a crawl, there was time for reflection on what next steps they would take as business owners (and Tworkowski—an avid gardener—conceived the upbeat Strawberry Flower collection). Ultimately, a slower-paced place began to look very attractive. “In New York, we went from a-to-b on automatic,” the designer recalls. “The move wasn’t only a business decision but also a personal one. I love the idea of gardening year-round, being inspired by the colors and light on the flowers.”
The partners also already had ties to the city of Palm Beach: they’d been underwriting the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach for the past ten years, and participating in jewelry exhibits and lectures there, so they felt like they were a part of the community before the move.
For the new Palm Beach store, the partners were drawn to the city’s historic Phipps Plaza, which houses local noteworthy architects including John Volk. Addison Mizner, responsible for the Mediterranean Revival style in South Florida, designed the building that Tworkowski and Singer finally settled on. The building previously housed the first department store in Florida, Bonwit Teller, and later Brook Brothers. And it will soon be home to the Carriage House social club—an English-style social club with bars, restaurants, and game rooms—housed in buildings designed by Mizner and another famous Palm Beach architect, Maurice Fatio.
Strict zoning laws have helped preserve the unique look of the tiny island, and according to Jeff Cloninger, senior global real estate advisor for Sotheby’s International Realty in Palm Beach there’s been a shift recently in the area. No longer just “America’s Winter Capital,” Palm Beach is becoming more year-round, with a booming commercial scene.
“Over the decades, retailers and galleries from NYC, the Hamptons, and Greenwich, Conn., wanted to have an adjunct location here to supplement primary locations in the Northeast,” Cloninger explains, adding, “What’s changed is these same companies are now looking at Palm Beach as a primary market for their retail operations, a change from even a few years ago. This is because many of their customers consider Palm Beach their primary residence and spend more time here than just the traditional winter season.”
According to several sources, the community is getting larger and wealthier. The population grew twice as fast as the national average in the past decade; there are between 33 and 44 billionaires in the area, which now ranks as the 18th richest place in the United States, and since the Covid-19 pandemic, over 20 homes sold for $40,000,000-plus.
Singer designed the new Mish Fine Jewelry store and worked with local architect Smith Kellogg to execute preservation guidelines. The Palm Beach-inspired décor was from in-demand New York City interior designer Katie Ridder.
Since opening in December, walk-in traffic at the relocated shop has surpassed that of the former store in NYC. And it’s proved to be the ideal town in which to debut the brand’s latest jewelry collection, called Why Knot?, which was inspired by a weathered piece of rope found on a beach in Mustique; gold is formed into the shape of a rope in lieu of a chain, which translates to rings, necklaces, earrings, and more.
A particularly stunning piece is the one-of-a-kind Cabana charm necklace made from hunks of turquoise the designer collected over 12 years. Like the new shop it’s being sold in, the jewel is infused with a beachy—but undeniably sophisticated—ease. —Roxanne Robinson
Store photos by Carmel Brantley, courtesy of Mish Fine Jewelry