Connect with us

Owner Designs Store to Accommodate a Full Life As Well As a Rewarding Career



Renaissance Fine Jewelry, Brattleboro, VT

OWNER: Caitlyn Wilkinson; ; FOUNDED: 2005; OPENED FEATURED LOCATION: 2011; EMPLOYEES: 3 full-time; 3 part-time ; AREA: 1,500 square feet sales floor; 3,000 additional square feet; TOP BRANDS: Jabel, David Connolly, Camelot, Benchmark, Ashi, Nancy B, Endless Jewelry, True Romance, Nicole Barr, Rembrandt Charms, Kameleon, Quality Gold. Estate department: Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany & Co., Bulgari, Patricia Von Muslin.; ONLINE PRESENCE:: 3,122 Facebook Likes; 4.5 Stars on Yelp.; BUILDOUT COST: $750,000

CAITLYN WILKINSON, owner of Renaissance Fine Jewelry in Brattleboro, VT, can go days without stepping outside of her store, not even to grab dinner or a night’s sleep.

She lives upstairs in the 1850s Greek Revival bank building on Main Street, which she bought and meticulously renovated into a jewelry store in 2010. The 1,500-square-foot showroom — aglow from four crystal chandeliers with walls painted Renaissance’s signature red with ivory and gold moldings — fills the first floor with bridal, contemporary and estate jewelry.


The second floor is a transitional space, both public and private, where Wilkinson meets with clients and has her office. “I did a large kitchen with a 15-foot granite island, which opens to the dining room where we sit down with groups to eat,” she says. The kitchen is located where the bank’s original executive offices had been, where many deals might have been struck at the turn of the last century, Wilkinson says. Now it’s the ultimate place for serious client entertaining.

The third floor is her family’s private space — living and bedrooms.

With her professional and personal life all in one location, often 24 hours will pass without Wilkinson ever leaving the premises. “That happens all the time, especially in the winter,” she says. “I just go up and down the (brass-gated elevator) with my pocketbook and bag of stuff.”

A Lifelong Plan

Wilkinson’s Fascination with fine jewelry began early. When playing with Barbies, she’d save all of their accessories. By the time she was 12, she was studying gemology and asking her parents to give her one piece of jewelry for her birthday each year. At 16, she approached a prominent Vermont jeweler and asked for a job.

“He said, ‘Come back when you grow up,’” Wilkinson says. So she did.

College followed with studies in business management, courses with the GIA and part-time work in a mall jewelry store. By age 20, Wilkinson was managing a designer jewelry store in downtown Burlington. “I received a wonderful education about the jewelry world from my mentors there,” she says.

Just as her career was poised for takeoff, Wilkinson started experiencing serious health problems from multiple sclerosis.


“My doctor said, ‘You’re going to be in a wheelchair by 40,’” she says. That devastating news could have sidelined all her plans. Instead, it did just the opposite. It fired her up. Suddenly, owning her own jewelry store wasn’t just a dream, it was an imperative.

Living with MS “was part of my decision to start my business,” she says. “I needed to support my family. I needed a place where I could work as my disability was getting more and more severe.”

In 2005, Wilkinson and her mother, Wendy Lillie, launched Renaissance Fine Jewelry in a storefront on Brattleboro’s Main Street. Five years later, Wilkinson purchased the historic Savings Bank of Vermont building and transformed it into her dream store.

Though it’s unnoticeable to most clients, the building was designed to accommodate Wilkinson’s potential health needs. All the doors are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair; the floors are level. She spent more than $100,000 on the elevator alone — a 1935 Otis — to bring it up to code and to make it functional for someone with a disability. It “was all part of trying to
provide a place where, if I was cognitively able, I could still work,” she says.

As an added benefit, the store today is easy to navigate for families with strollers.

While her business was growing, Wilkinson was starting on a new experimental medication. “At that point, the hospitals here had no more treatments for me,” she says. “I was willing to take the drug. I knew the risks.”

When she was renovating the bank building, Wilkinson couldn’t walk the one block from her original store to her new location. Today, thanks to the medication, she’s been in remission for nearly seven years. “I’m not in a wheelchair. I can dance. I can run. I can do anything,” she says.

“I didn’t think I’d live to see my kids this age,” she said. (Her sons are 13 and 15.) “I don’t like to be disabled. I joke that disability doesn’t look good on me.”

A Building Transformed

Buying The Former Red Brick Bank Building was key to transforming Renaissance into the store Wilkinson always envisioned it to be. But it didn’t come quickly. It took two years just to acquire the building.

“The owner was a 92-year-old former senator, well beloved in my community, and he never put it up for sale,” she says. “He took offers from buyers, and you had to apply. He even met my family to determine whether we were the kind of people he wanted to own this building.” After getting his blessing, Wilkinson commenced a full gut-to-the-studs renovation. Today, visitors enter through double red doors flanked by Greek Revival columns. The interior is open with high ceilings, large windows and period-appropriate architectural features. Classic ivory-paneled wood-and-glass cases with LED lights display the collections. The inventory includes estate and designer jewelry, contemporary, bridal and fashion lines as well as the store’s own designs.

“We are big fans of Pandora,” Wilkinson says. “It brings people in from every social level who feel comfortable shopping in our store, which is very important to us. They might start with a charm from Pandora, but come the big day in everyone’s life, they might be shopping for engagement rings and wedding bands.”

A display also is dedicated to rare finds, such as a sterling silver, turn-of-the-20th-century cosmetic purse from Boucheron, antique Cartier pens and an 1850 French tremblant diamond-encrusted necklace that converts to a tiara.

“The layout is designed to engage with our customers,” Wilkinson says. “We can assist from two sides (of the store) at the same time. We also have a workroom on the main floor with a jeweler’s bench, so people can watch us while we are working on their repairs.”

Another clever feature is a children’s play area. “I have kids, so I get what it’s like to shop with hyper little boys,” she says. “One of us will go help with the kids while the parents look.”

Renaissance’s employees go through extensive training, learning the inventory as well as customer-service skills. “We know the best experience is when people walk in the door, and we give them an ‘aha’ moment,” she says. “We do that. We send thank you cards; we have little gifts for children when they come in.”

The store also does custom design. It’s one of Wilkinson’s passions. Last Christmas, she helped a new client, who was working in Pakistan, design an engagement ring — all via Skype. “He sent me some pictures, and he had great taste,” she said. “I would send him pictures of designs, and we hand-fabricated it. It was an exquisite ring, every little detail was thought of.


“I’m completely honored to be part of these experiences,” she says of her clients’ big life moments. “Here I am helping them choose their wedding bands that will hopefully be on their fingers for every day of their lives.”

ONLINE EXTRA: 5 Questions with Caitlyn Wilkinson

1. What do you love most about owning a jewelry store?
I design custom jewelry, with my favorite being a gorgeous new design using parts and pieces from clients’ deeply sentimental jewelry, sometimes incorporating seamlessly up to four different family members’ jewelry. I love listening to my clients’ stories, getting to know them individually and, most of all, being part of creating new memories.

2. What do you look for when hiring for the gallery?
I look for people who are kind, committed and honest and have a natural drive to do their job and do the best they can do. That doesn’t mean you have to be the best at everything. If everyone in the store does (his or her) job well then the whole store flows beautifully. We’re a group of people who are very supportive of each other.

3. Do staff work on commission?
They have a strong base, incentive commission and benefits.

4. What’s your most important marketing strategy?
Today you have to be more than a jeweler. People have so many places they can shop. We want to be friends with our clients. For us, the boundary between client and friend is quickly washed away. They’re still our clients — that’s most important — but we bring them into the fold of our lives in a way. … We also do a lot of radio ads. So my voice is well known. I’ll go places around town, and people will recognize my voice.

5. You mentioned that you have a nickel allergy. Do you carry jewelry that has nickel in the store?
If it has nickel in it, it has to be rhodium-plated. Our focus is nickel-free so I can be comfortable living here.

Five Cool Things About Renaissance Fine Jewelry

1.HISTORY ALL AROUND. The store’s three-story red brick building was built in 1859 and served as a bank for 150 years.

2. NO PARKING TICKETS. As part of its customer service efforts, staff members feed clients’ parking meters and make deliveries to disabled customers.

3. TRAINING THE NEXT GENERATION OF JEWELERS. Wilkinson hires high school students who are part of Future Business Leaders of America. She trains them extensively. They’ve done sales, marketing and social media.

4. MORE THAN A QUICK NOSH. If a client is hungry, staff members will dash to the second-floor kitchen to whip up plates of olives, pate, cheese, fruit and crackers and serve it all on a silver platter.

5. PARTY POLITICS. A sidewalk improvement project in downtown Brattleboro caused major headaches for local shop owners in 2015. But instead of getting frustrated with the construction workers, who were doing their jobs, Renaissance threw a pizza and beer night for them at the store. It showed the store’s appreciation for their work, and “we subsequently got some business out of it,” Wilkinson says.


  • Peggy Jo Donahue: I love the emphasis on jewelry’s long history, the embrace of the town’s young folks, and the warm friendliness of being in someone’s home. This is a place where a glass of wine or a meal is at the ready.
  • Rebecca Overmann: Connection with your community is not only critical — it’s what makes the business fun and rewarding.
  • Christine Medawar: I love how much they are a part of the community and love to eat out or entertain. I believe networking is so important and should be a big part of any business.
  • Benjamin Guttery: I love that they target disabled consumers that normally would not be able to stop by store easily. That’s going the extra mile for your clients.
  • Ruth Mellergaard: I love red, so I love this store. Red is a color promoting energy and life and Caitlyn’s story tells me that this reflects her and her store. Bravo!


Wilkerson Testimonials

When It’s Time for Something New, Call Wilkerson

Fifty-four years is a long time to stay in one place. So, when Cindy Skatell-Dacus, owner of Skatell’s Custom Jewelers in Greenville, SC decided to move on to life’s next adventure, she called Wilkerson. “I’d seen their ads in the trade magazines for years,’ she says, before hiring them to run her store’s GOB sale. It was such a great experience, Skatell-Dacus says it didn’t even seem like a sale was taking place. Does she have some advice for others thinking of a liquidation or GOB sale? Three words, she says: “Wilkerson. Wilkerson. Wilkerson.”

Promoted Headlines

America's Coolest Stores

Portland, OR, Couple Fine-Tunes the No-Pressure Engagement Ring Sale

Website and window displays create perfect curb appeal.



Malka Diamonds & Jewelry, Portland, OR

OWNERS: David and Ronnie Malka; URL: ; FOUNDED: 2010; ARCHITECT AND DESIGN: One Hundred Agency and Bedford Brown Store; EMPLOYEES: 3 ; AREA: 1,000 square feet total; 700 square foot showroom; TOP BRANDS: Custom, vintage, Point No Point Studios, Vatche, Jolie Design; ONLINE PRESENCE: 1,645 Instagram followers, 957 Facebook followers, 4.9 Stars with 62 Google reviews; RENOVATED: 2018; BUILDOUT COST: $75,000; SHOWCASES:KDM

Ronnie and David Malka

VINTAGE RINGS DISPLAYED in authentic, retro jewelry boxes share space with newly minted engagement rings in the front window of Malka Diamonds & Jewelry, a boutique shop in the historic Hamilton building in the heart of downtown Portland.

Passersby enchanted by that tempting array are welcomed inside by owners David and Ronnie Malka, who offer guests a warm greeting and refreshments from the coffee shop across the hall.

Adding to the relaxed environment, they rarely ask for the prospective customer’s information right away. “Our customer is our friend. Just like you don’t ask someone you just met for all of their information, you really should try to take the same approach with your customers,” David says.


Once guests have a chance to settle in and look around, graduate gemologist David loves to share what he knows by comparing loose diamonds at his desk. What makes the Malka experience distinctive is that David includes tricks of the trade in his consumer education, such as explaining what kind of diamonds people in the jewelry business might select for themselves.

“A lot of people who are thinking about buying diamonds online have done some research, and I like to educate them on the stuff you can see in a diamond that you should pay for,” David says. “The stuff you can’t see, why pay for it? Common sense goes a long way when you’re spending thousands of dollars. Great, if you want to buy a VVS stone, we have it, but most of the people who see the difference, or don’t see the difference, between D and F color are making a much more informed purchase, and they feel good about it.”

Large windows allow passersby to glimpse a mix of vintage and new rings on display while flooding the space with natural light.

They’re also adept at explaining the difference between the diamonds and their paperwork. “The cert says XYZ, but if you lined it up with five others, you might see why that stone was priced so low in its bracket,” Ronnie says.

They think it’s just fine if their customers walk out without buying anything on their first or second visit — even if they’re headed to the competition.

“We keep it really simple in here,” says Ronnie. “A lot of the guys who come in are buying something they don’t know anything about. We don’t bombard them with phone calls or emails; we just offer education. They continue to explore and research, and most of those people we see back here.”

The Malkas are taking the long view. “We want to be like their grandparents’ jewelers with a state-of-the-art shop so we can create things that are going to last,” Ronnie says. “Like the 1920s-era jewelers you trusted but still current and evolving with time.” Although engagement and wedding rings dominate their business now, with as much as 85 percent of sales, they believe that as their original customers continue to mature, they’ll eventually diversify into jewelry for other occasions.

By the time the customer does make a purchase or put a deposit down on a custom ring, David and Ronnie have developed a relationship with them. They give their customers a Malka hat, pin or T-shirt. They also give them a pamphlet detailing the history of their three-generation tradition of diamond dealers, and paperwork that includes an appraisal. There’s no paperwork involved with the guarantee; that is automatic for the life of the ring.


As for that history, David’s father, Yossi Malka, who still has an office across the street from his son’s store, began his career as an apprentice under his great uncle in Israel, studied diamond cutting and later became a wholesale dealer in Portland.

David studied at the GIA, earned a graduate gemologist degree, and worked in a retail store for several years. David also ran his own jewelry appraisal lab, Independent Gemological Services, for the trade and private clients. “That’s a tough gig to be looking through the scope all day,” he says. “I was getting a little bit bored.”

Still, everyone thought he was crazy, he says, when he decided to open his own store. “It was the recession. It was a tough time.” Three major Portland jewelry stores had closed. “I figured if we took this plunge and we could stay afloat for two years, we should be able to weather anything,” he says. They’d been considering a variety of different names for the business when a friend offered this advice: “When you put your name on the door, you’re putting your name behind the business.”

Perfect. They had a name.

Ronnie Malka collects retro jewelry boxes to display vintage engagement rings.

They leased a prime 1,000-square-foot spot within a vacant 10,000 square-foot space. It was bare bones, with not much beyond walls and floors.

“Welcome to the world of retail,” David says he remembered thinking. Traffic was thin at first, and David continued to operate the appraisal lab, taking it month by month. Although changing shopping habits of American consumers had seemed to be a bad omen, it turned out that Portland shoppers who did spend money on jewelry wanted to make sure they were investing in local, independent businesses. Within a couple of years, they’d won Oregon Bride Magazine’s “Best Rings of 2012” award.

In 2013 Malka became the official fine jewelers of the University of Oregon and their shop got very busy. Ronnie left her teaching job to join Malka full time after it became clear David needed help with marketing and events.

In 2018, they expanded the shop and fine-tuned their interior design, adding metallic cork wallpaper, a custom woven rug, a gathering area with a modern, round table and gray leather chairs, and custom-built display cases. The counter now boasts a marble top and black paint. Other additions include a gold light fixture and a trio of geometric mirrors. The look is upscale without feeling stuffy. The decor is also a personal reflection of what makes David and Ronnie comfortable, complete with a prominently displayed black and white wedding photo of the couple.

“Ninety-nine percent of the time, you meet a Malka,” Ronnie says. “We want them to know us as we want to know them.”






Five Cool Things About Malka Diamonds & Jewelry

1. Salt-and-pepper diamonds. A year ago, Malka started showcasing the work of a Seattle designer, Point No Point Studios, which has a strong Instagram presence and specializes in salt-and-pepper diamond rings. “We knew that going out-of-the-box and trying something new would potentially bring new traffic,” says Ronnie, who gets several inquiries about them every week. David, as the son of a diamond dealer, admits he was reluctant at first to move in that direction. “My dad says, ‘How much is that per carat?!’ Ten years ago, it would have been used for drill bits, but now there’s an actual marketplace for it. I don’t think it’s a fad, either,” David says.

2. Collaborative environment. “We all know the projects, what’s going on, and what’s coming up,” Ronnie says. “It doesn’t feel compartmentalized.” That approach also creates opportunity for growth. Chloe, who works in the showroom, says Malka has the friendliest atmosphere of anywhere she has worked, as well as enormous growth potential and pride in values. “It gives me satisfaction learning-wise and experience-wise, knowing what the jewelers have to do to have a certain outcome for whatever kind of piece we’re making,” she says.

3. Custom connection. A 2018 expansion made room for two full-time master jewelers and more equipment in the shop. “We wanted everything done under our roof,” David says, from design to manufacture. Sometimes they are simply consultants: “An architect is doing his own CAD design for us to look at and make sure it’s going to translate into a ring and not a building,” Ronnie says.

4. Website curb appeal. Ronnie considers Malka’s digital presence, including its website, to be online curb appeal. “People want to engage online first,” Ronnie says. “Maybe 10 or 15 years ago, your website was a placeholder for your contact info, but now it tells your story.” People know what to expect.

5. Digital marketing ROI. Digital marketing has for the most part replaced traditional radio and TV, because as Ronnie says, “Our customer is online and if they’re seriously looking for a ring, they are seriously looking — not seeing it on TV. Many jewelers will say this is a waste of time, but in the last six months when our followers have doubled, we have noticed customers referring to an image they saw on Instagram or Facebook. It is a real relief to see the return on investment on the time spent taking photos and creating tag lines.” Even shop dog Toby has his own Instagram handle!

  • Julie Ettinger: This store is a real gem! I love the shop-local feel and that it can all be done in house. I also appreciate the mix of vintage and new.
  • Julie Gotz: I love that the owners are so invested in the customer and their life cycle. Many stores are too focused on the sale and not enough on the relationship. It is great to hear that a store is using social media in such a successful way.
  • Joel Hassler: I like the approach to gathering customer information. Building a relationship is more important than data-mining.
  • Barbara Ross-Innamorati: : The store interior is exquisite and feels upscale but also warm and inviting. The website is quite informative and I love their blog, “Stories,” as it features a lot of interesting topics with gorgeous photography.
  • Hedda Schupak: I like the laser focus on diamond rings, and I love the impressive depth of selection they have, especially nontraditional styles. The store itself is very hip and welcoming. Their online presence is very strong; they’re using all social media quite well.
  • Eric Zimmerman: Malka Diamonds has done a wonderful job of creating a modern elegant boutique while still highlighting the building’s historic features. Their store’s design tells a story that complements the products they showcase: modern and antique.
Continue Reading

America's Coolest Stores

Regional Family-Owned Jewelry Company Expands Presence in New Hampshire

Bold, new store in Nashua embraces the future.



Day’s Jewelers, Nashua, NH

OWNERS: Jeff & Kathy Corey;; FOUNDED: 1914; OPENED FEATURED LOCATION: 2018; ARCHITECT AND DESIGN FIRMS: Ron Gay, YCC Jewelry Store Designs; Fulcrum, Ouellet Construction and Guy Labrecque Jr., architect from CWS; EMPLOYEES: 130 total; 13 in this location ; AREA: 6,000 square feet total; 5,000-square-foot showroom; TOP BRANDS: Forevermark, Martin Flyer, Gabriel & Co., Frieda Rothman; TOTAL NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 8; BUILDOUT COST: $1.4 million

ON JEFF COREY’S FIRST date with future wife Kathy, the couple not only talked about getting married and having kids, they also dreamed of opening a jewelry store together. “Why not multiple jewelry stores?” they mused. The possibilities opened up before them.

“It’s always been our vision to provide opportunities to others,” Kathy says. “Having multiple locations has always been our vision, right from the start.”

Years later, they were operating one store — Jeffrey’s Fine Jewelers in Waterfield, ME — when they received a serendipitous phone call.

At one time, Day’s was the largest jewelry retailer in New England with 22 stores, but by the time the owners, brothers David and Sidney Davidson, were in their 80s and ready to retire, they could not find a buyer to sell the company intact. They were forced to sell their legacy piecemeal for the value of the real estate.


When they had just one remaining store, the brothers called the Coreys. The Davidsons had known Jeff’s dad, who got his start with Day’s. “He said my brother and I want to retire, but don’t want to see the name Day’s die,” Jeff recalls.

“We’d like you to buy the company from us and revive Day’s.”

What could have been the end for Day’s turned into a new beginning. The Coreys did buy the last Day’s. Soon there were two Day’s locations when they changed the name of Jeffrey’s Fine Jewelers to Day’s and began rebuilding the brand. Now there are eight.

The grand opening of Day’s Jewelers in Nashua, NH, celebrated the beginning of a new era for the Coreys. It is the first store they built from the ground up.

The Nashua Chapter

The Coreys built their first New Hampshire store in Manchester in 2003, but knew that in order to have a strong presence in that state, they’d need another location. So when the Nashua location became available in a desirable, high-traffic area, they were beyond ready. This buildout would be their first from the ground up, giving them a chance to modernize their look and branding.

“We were looking for a store that was more engaging, that allowed the comfort and freedom to walk around without shoppers feeling they were being observed or pressured to buy,” Kathy says.

A circular design sets the stage for a natural traffic flow that draws shoppers throughout the space while maximizing linear display space. The two-story entryway has a glass wall along its curved exterior, creating space for advertising display opportunities both inside and out, and establishing an interior theme that carries through to casework and ceiling. The circular design creates an open lounge area in the center for customers to settle in, enjoy a beverage and watch TV, creating the feeling they had walked into a home.

Black brick around the building’s perimeter establishes a solid base for the lighter exterior finish system above. The finishes selected for the window systems, canopy and awnings are a play on metal work and fabrication. The exterior is a modern interpretation of traditional detailing and material use while maintaining strict regulations for energy conservation and sustainable design practices. As with the exterior, materials selected for the interior represent the display of fine jewelry in a modern, sleek, but accessible fashion.


Kathy considers the Forevermark bridal enclave to be the crown jewel of the store with its custom-built benches and furniture, as well as the story of Forevermark playing on a continuous loop.

The Virtual Diamond Boutique allows shoppers to view and virtually try on exceptional loose diamonds, most of which can be ordered for viewing in store the next day.

Standing the Test of Time

From the beginning, Kathy and Jeff were determined to have a long-range vision. “We’ve resisted the temptation to hold sales, for one example,” Kathy says. “ It’s a matter of integrity — and of doing things for the long term.”

Day’s point of differentiation in its markets is partly a result of the size of its stores, which are all between 5,000 and 10,000 square feet. “The selection we offer our customers is hugely more vast than other stores,” Kathy says. “We also pride ourselves on services, engraving, goldsmith, pearl stringing, appraisals, gemologists, and ear piercing. We do hundreds of ear piercings a year. We do all of this with that hometown comfortable feel without being perceived as a big box.”

Day’s is one of five independent retail jewelers to be certified by the Responsible Jewelry Council as the result of a third-party audit. “RJC has given us an opportunity to evaluate long-term structural, strategic initiatives that help businesses survive the times.”

In maintaining the company’s family jeweler tradition, Jeff and Kathy’s son Joe, along with two nephews, have begun to assume leadership roles in the company.

Their long-term view also means they take time to hire and then invest in employee growth. Their 25-page hiring handbook is informed by experts in the field, including Kate Peterson and Peter Smith. “We clearly define skills, experiences and talents that are necessary to succeed at a particular job. We use screening tools to determine if a candidate fits the profile.”

They ensure that every new hire feels a sense of empowerment and has the knowledge and education to make independent decisions in the best interest of the company and customers. “We want our employees to feel that this is a career, not just a job,” Jeff says. “They have to feel like they’re learning and growing all the time. So we invest in training and career advancement, including college courses.”

Everyone learns that the customer is the boss. “If you ask any one of our 130 employees, they will tell you that,” Jeff says. “Google reviews and Facebook reviews tell that story quite clearly.”


They also work hard to find good leaders and facilitate strong communication. It’s working: a statewide survey has deemed Day’s one of the best places to work in Maine based on employee responses to questions about company culture, leadership, their level of satisfaction and a variety of HR-related criteria.

Ensuring employee satisfaction ultimately leads to customer satisfaction.

At the Nashua store, buying jewelry is absolutely fun, the Coreys say, thanks to their enthusiastic team. “They bring an energy to buying jewelry that is like none other,” they say. “Bring your dog to Day’s, bring your baby, have a beer, kick your feet up, relax. You’ll become part of our family the minute you walk into our store.”



Five Cool Things About Day’s Jewelers

1. The Bridal Box. Whenever Day’s sells a diamond engagement ring, the engaged couple receives a large gift-wrapped box that includes a bottle of champagne, a jewelry gift, promotions for wedding rings and bridal attendant gifts, toasting flutes and a certificate for a free engraved cake knife. Day’s has partnered with a local photographer, formalwear provider, and other bridal-related businesses; each includes a gift or coupon in the box.

2. Core values. Stationed high above the entrance on the copper trim at the building’s pinnacle is the company’s signature emblem, each point of which represents one of Day’s Jewelers four core differentiating values that have guided the company for more than 100 years. “Value: We promise to always provide the best value to our customersin our goods and services. Opportunity: We promise to provide everyone with the opportunity to own and enjoy fine jewelry. Trust: We promise to always do business in an environment of trust and transparency. Sentiment: We believe the true value of a piece of jewelry is not in how much it costs, but what it means to the person who wears it.”

3. Enchanting the children. A graphics product called Visual Magnetics adds interactive scenery to the children’s play area. Magnetic paint is applied under the store’s color paint, turning its walls into magnets. Then thin, high-resolution images can be rolled directly onto the wall. The first layer is a colorful, under-the-sea background. The second layer is cut-outs of sea life that children can move around to create their own customized seascape.

4. The media mix. “I find marketing to be very exciting today,” Jeff says. “It’s so much easier to hypter-target the market with the proper message.” While social media has become a very important part of the ad mix, Day’s has found value in everything from TV and radio to cinema ads and airport billboards. Even newspaper advertising has its place as a way to reach the over 50, more affluent demographic. Having a team of eight people on staff in the marketing department, including graphic designers, a videographer/photographer and a copywriter allows most of the work to be done in house.

5. Philanthropy. In 2014, to celebrate 100 years in business, Day’s set a goal of raising $100,000 for Jewelers for Children. Day’s 138 employees were invited to participate voluntarily, primarily through weekly payroll deduction. With generous contributions and hard work from employees, customers and suppliers, the firm contributed $102,000 to JFC in January 2015.

  • Benjamin Guttery: This jeweler exemplifies that the entire family is welcome at their store, from kiddos to Corgis. The second floor window really shines to passersby and is a recognizable feature of the community as well as an advertising display opportunity.
  • Elle Hill: The store is fresh, clean and bright, allowing the customer to bathe in warm natural sunlight. Engaging with the community and touches such as the Bridal Box are important ways of fitting in and standing out.
  • Bob Phibbs: The kids’ section is inspired. I’ve never encountered anything like that to keep kids occupied.
  • Michael Roman: Exquisite showroom! Unique space for small children. Strong core values are evident in the stores’ success. Well-done YouTube video. It gives the shopper a feeling about what their experience will be like if they visit Day’s.
  • Mark Tapper: The interior of the Nashua store is cool, modern and beautiful. I love the sleek lines and rounded cases. The showroom appears to be flowing with natural light. The Forevermark boutique has a great presence.
Continue Reading

America's Coolest Stores

America’s Coolest Stores 2019 – Winners Revealed!




Check out America’s Coolest Jewelry Stores of 2019!

Congratulations to the winners of the 18th annual America’s Coolest Stores Contest! In the following pages — and in the months ahead — discover why these stores earned the stamp of approval from our judges. As in past years, we divided the entries into two categories — Big Cool (six or more full-time employees) and Small Cool (five or fewer). We asked two six-member teams of judges to evaluate stores based on their back story, interior, exterior, marketing, online presence and what we here at INSTORE believe is the most important intangible: individuality.

Our six America’s Coolest and additional 10 Cool Stores — each of which will be featured in INSTORE issues through June 2019 — represent creative approaches to doing business as well as aesthetically pleasing retail environments. Each of the six winning stores also offers an omni-channel shopping experience, with merchandise available for purchase online.

If you haven’t taken the time to enter yet, why not give it a shot in January 2020? Retailers have told us that the entry process alone can be inspiring and motivating because it requires them to assess all aspects of their businesses. And if you entered and weren’t chosen this time, fine-tune your entry and try again. That’s proven to be a winning strategy.

Check out America’s Coolest
Jewelry Stores of 2019!

Congratulations to the winners of the 18th annual America’s Coolest Stores Contest! In the following pages — and in the months ahead — discover why these stores earned the stamp of approval from our judges. As in past years, we divided the entries into two categories — Big Cool (six or more full-time employees) and Small Cool (five or fewer). We asked two six-member teams of judges to evaluate stores based on their back story, interior, exterior, marketing, online presence and what we here at INSTORE believe is the most important intangible: individuality.

Our six America’s Coolest and additional 10 Cool Stores — each of which will be featured in INSTORE issues through June 2019 — represent creative approaches to doing business as well as aesthetically pleasing retail environments. Each of the six winning stores also offers an omni-channel shopping experience, with merchandise available for purchase online.

If you haven’t taken the time to enter yet, why not give it a shot in January 2020? Retailers have told us that the entry process alone can be inspiring and motivating because it requires them to assess all aspects of their businesses. And if you entered and weren’t chosen this time, fine-tune your entry and try again. That’s proven to be a winning strategy.

Continue Reading

Most Popular