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ACS 2003 1st Place: Clodius & Co

Hi-tech luxury with modern, stylish design.

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Clodius & Co, Rockford, IL

OWNER: Mark and Monika Clodius; DESIGNERS: Mark and Monika Clodius; PROJECT COST: $25,000; ADDRESS: 308 West State Street, Rockford, IL 61101; PHONE: (815) 490-9400; DESIGN ADVICE: First, try to find a vision … visit other jewelers and specialty shops, study back issues of Instore and see what other cool stores ʻspeakʼ to you. Second, you must have a budget. You can work wonders with paint, new lights, and new case interiors. We spent top dollar on our cases, but many of our interior accessories came from IKEA. Be active in thinking of alternative materials and fixtures.”


JEWELRY DESIGNERS Mark and Monika Clodius are a creative force to be reckoned with. The husband and wife duo already had a thriving jewelry store when they expanded into a coffee shop in a refurbished turn-of-the-century department store.

Continental DiamondMark and Monika were eager for their new store to reflect their belief in modernity and progress, yet wanted to stay true to the history of the location. The store has 18-foot high ceilings, and is fitted with distinctive custom-built wood display cases that Mark designed himself. (The design is now copyrighted, and the cabinets are shortly going into limited distribution.) The couple decided that no one else could fulfil their aesthetic ideal, and undertook the layout, color, carpeting, lighting, and décor alone, calling on an interior designer to help with textural choices and color matching. They even got their hands dirty, doing much of the “grunt work” themselves.

The finished product has a rich array of colors, including an amethyst ceiling, pistachio walls and an almond-colored carpet. Texture comes from luxurious wall hangings, and the limestone and arched windows, retained from the original building, prove a marked contrast to the state-of-the-art computer station installed in the sales area. Security had to be beefed up from that in the spaceʼs old incarnation as a coffee shop, but a lingering flavor of the old place remains in the shape of the old dishwasher; itʼs been converted into what Mark and Monika call “the worldʼs smallest production shop.” They now plan to open another store, and recently bought a freestanding old bank in the center of town. Mark plans “a similar look to our current store, but with greatly expanded customer care area, beverage and cookie station, more display space, and greatly expanded shop and office areas.” They even plan on an indoor fountain.

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Continental Diamond interior
Four of the judges awarded very high marks to Clodius and Co. Brett Weiler says, “I really liked the overall feel of the store, from the cases to the colors.” Ever the curious craftsman, Brett loves the on-show aspect of the workshop: “I like being able to see a storeʼs shop. However, this shop is in the store, and that is a vote-buster.” The storeʼs progressive ethos wins over Fred Michmershuizen, who says, “This is a store of the future. It gets a perfect 10 for originality. Those display cases with their oval windows scream: ʻLook inside me!ʼ” RoxAnna Sway has nothing but praise for the storeʼs design. “Graphic and bold contemporary design, distinctive features and artistic touches communicate sophisticated taste and a unique brand message,” she reckons. Debbie Yonick, too, raves about Mark and Monikaʼs baby, saying, “I especially love the buttery leather couch that would make me say, ʻBring on the jewelry, honey, Iʼll be over here!ʼ” Penny Palmer is the lone voice of dissent. While she agrees that the store is “Very original, very unique,” she also thinks that it is “in some ways too modern,” and says of in-store bench area, “It looks awful.”

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Celebrate Your Retirement with Wilkerson

For nearly three decades, Suzanne and Tom Arnold ran a successful business at Facets Fine Jewelry in Arlington, Va. But the time came when the Arnolds wanted to do some of the things you put off while you’ve got a business to run. “We decided it was time to retire,” says Suzanne, who claims the couple knew how to open a store, how to run a store but “didn’t know how to close a store.” So, they hired Wilkerson to do it for them. When she called, Suzanne says Wilkerson offered every option for the sale she could have hoped for. Better still, “the sale exceeded our financial goals like crazy,” she says. And customers came, not only to take advantage of the going-out-of-business buys and mark-downs, but to wish a bon voyage to the beloved proprietors of a neighborhood institution. “People were celebrating our retirement, and that was so special,” says says.

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