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Kokopelli

A red southwestern modern cave in the heart of New York city.

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Kokopelli, New York NY

OWNER: Paul Dumont; DESIGNERS: DGA Security/Paul Dumont; PROJECT COST: $150,000; ADDRESS: 152 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012; PHONE: (212) 925-4411; DESIGN ADVICE: “As the owner of the store look within yourself for design ideas. You can get someone else to do the mechanicals but the ideas must come from within. The design must be you. How do you do business? Do you want hip or chic? Serious or playful? Modern or classic? Your store must express you and who you wish to attract. The appearance of your store is your biggest advertisement. It says it all!”


RED IS THE COLOR OF ENERGY, passion, and drive, three qualities Paul Dumont, the owner of Kokopelli, possesses in spades. His store is named after a humpbacked minstrel of Southwestern myth, said to be a singing fertility symbol, magical hunter, and seducer of Pueblo maidens. One might speculate that latter-day fertility rites might start with a visit to this luscious Prince Street store — just round the corner from fellow-winners Push.

Continental Diamond“The products we sell at Kokopelli are truly magical. Itʼs more than just jewelry,” explains Dumont. “Every piece has its own spirit.” Dumont moved into the store in April 2002 and immediately started on its transformation. “Itʼs a Southwestern red rock cave with jeweled treasure inside,” explains Dumont. “The design began years ago in my travels throughout the Southwest. The storeʼs appearance draws them in from across the street, with many ʻoohʼs, ʻaahʼs and ʻwow!ʼs,” he says.

Besides creating a visually compelling store, security was another priority for Dumont, who had previously had the unpleasant experience of being robbed — and the even less pleasant task of trying to recoup his losses from his insurance firm. He worked with security firm DGA, whose ideas for the safe upkeep of his precious store were just what Paul was looking for. “Everything they installed on the selling floor does its job perfectly without interfering with the aesthetics,” he says of the firmʼs sensitivity towards his vision. Also, lighting was installed with visibility in mind: maximum visibility (for the jewelry) and maximum invisibility (for the lights themselves). Closed-circuit television cameras are inconspicuously planted throughout the selling floor. The small, dome shaped cameras are all-seeing, yet a casual observer would not even notice them. Motion detectors are similiarly hidden from view.

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Continental Diamond interior
The futuristic style of the store certainly grabbed the panel. Brett Weiler loves the storeʼs spirit: “Fresh, creative and innovative,” he enthuses. “I liked it inside and out. The structure is an experience in itself and assures a memorable visit.” Penny Palmer is another firm fan of Dumontʼs vision, declaring it “my definition of a cool store — very unique, very warm and original, a little abstract.” RoxAnna Sway notes, “Great architectural curves, bold displays that pop against the dark background, and warm colors,” while Fred Michmerhuizen also found the store breathtaking. “Wow!” he says. “This store has a terrifically futuristic look and feel.” But Fred also wonders if “the jewelry seems to get drowned out by the Jetsons decor.” Debbie Yonick is another fan: “The curvilinear structure, with the help of color and lights, appears to envelop you as you move through the space.”

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When Tom Moses decided to close one of the two Moses Jewelers stores in western Pennsylvania, it was time to call in the experts. After reviewing two candidates, Moses, a co-owner of the 72 year-old business, decided to go with Wilkerson. The sale went better than expected. Concerned about running it during the pandemic, Moses says it might have helped the sale. “People wanted to get out, so there was pent-up demand,” he says. “Folks were not traveling so there was disposable income, and we don’t recall a single client commenting to us, feeling uncomfortable. It was busy in here!” And perhaps most importantly, Wilkerson was easy to deal with, he says, and Susan, their personal Wilkerson consultant, was knowledgeable, organized and “really good.” Now, the company can focus on their remaining location — without the hassle of carrying over merchandise that either wouldn’t fit or hadn’t sold. “The decision to hire Wilkerson was a good one,” says Moses.

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