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ACS 2005 2nd Place: J.R. Dunn Jewelers

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J.R. Dunn Jewelers, Fort Lauderdale, FL

OWNERS: The Dunn family (Jim, Ann Marie, and Sean); ADDRESS: 401 East Las Olas Blvd. Suite 100, Bank of America Plaza, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301; PHONE: (954) 463-1799; FAX: (954) 463-6355; URL: jrdunn.com; YEAR FOUNDED: 1969; 2004 REVENUES: Over $15 million; OPENED FEATURED LOCATION: October 2002; LOCATION TYPE: Downtown office building; ARCHITECT/DESIGN FIRM: Pavlik Design Group; TOTAL STORE AREA: 2,600 sq. ft; TARGET CUSTOMER: Professionals aged 35 to 55; SHOWCASES: 10 vitrines and sidewalls, 21 showcases (120 linear feet); EMPLOYEES: 6 (at Las Olas branch); FLOOR: Imported limestone; LAST REMODELING: N/A; ADVERTISING SLOGAN: “Your ultimate jewelry experience”; CEILINGS: 26 feet high; SHOWCASES: Vitrines; PRIMARY COLORS: Mahogany, black lacquer; “COOLEST” STORE FEATURE: “James Bond” table with center showcase; LAND COST: N/A; BUILDING COST: N/A; INTERIOR BUILD-OUT COST: $800,000; DESIGN/ARCHITECTURAL FIRMS COST: $200,000; CURRENT ESTIMATED PROPERTY VALUE: N/A


HOW DO YOU TOP a multi-million dollar, 8,000 square-foot retail jewelry store with 30 years of history? Simple answer: you donʼt. But you can hope to match it. J.R. Dunn Jewelers set out to do just that when they decided to open a second location in downtown Fort Lauderdale to complement their existing flagship in Lighthouse Point, FL. It wasnʼt a matter of simple duplication. For one, the markets were different. The original store catered to a mature, wealthy crowd, whereas the new store would be in the Bank of America office building, right in the financial district — which meant young

professionals. “The building was brand new, so we knew going with a modern look would help reduce the threshold barrier with young people,” says Sean Dunn. “We didnʼt want it to look regal. We wanted to give it a non-threatening feel … not overly opulent, but contemporary and sophisticated.”

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The Dunns had to act fast to land the 2,000 square-foot first-floor space in the 24-story building on fashionable Las Olas Boulevard. Soon to be neighbors with 6,200 high-rise condos, and at least twice as many potential customers, they were taking no chances. They immediately hired Pavlik Design Team, a locally-operated firm of international acclaim (counting companies like Tiffany, Harrodʼs, and Disney on their client roster), to translate these nuances into reality.

The result was nothing short of spectacular. Six 14-foot high windows, oversized chandeliers, and display cases made of glass and Sapele wood (and installed with fiber-optic lighting) draw the eye, creating a sense of geometric symmetry. A grand staircase rises from the showroom to the private showing mezzanine, giving the place a sense of majesty, especially for its size. The ceiling soars 26 feet overhead, and state-of-the-art lighting and custom-built details of wood, granite and frosted glass create an upscale, yet warm and friendly shopping experience. Says Dunn: “The store has a modern feel, more like what you would find in a fashion clothing store.”

The expansive windows, flanked by an outside fountain, face the busy boulevard, which has lots of walk-by traffic both day and night. The contemporary and dramatic window displays help to bring the showroom into the street, grabbing the attention of passersby and pulling them into the store. “The showroom is so bright, with lots of natural light,” says Dunn. “But nothing washes out … the fiber-optic lighting in the cases makes the diamonds dance and dazzle.”

But perhaps the most extraordinary feature awaits upstairs: a black, high-gloss tabletop with a glass cube showcase in the middle. Press a button on the table or the complementary remote control, and the showcase rises silently up on servomotors. (The staff has affectionately dubbed it the “James Bond” coffee table.) J.R. Dunn Jewelers has used the technological marvel to showcase some of the most magnificent pieces in the industry, such as the Chopard Elton John-series timepiece (valued at over $100,000) displayed at a recent charity event.

The 700 square-foot mezzanine also includes wall showcases that can be customized with jewelry to fit the customerʼs tastes, as well as seating for four and curtains that can be closed electronically to instantly create a more intimate and private setting. Many of the storeʼs biggest sales happen in the room, but one stands out in particular. “A client was driving in from two hours away. I know my clients well, so I took everything I thought she might like and set up the entire room just for her.

There were places for her, her daughter, and her husband all to sit. She was blown away when a 12-carat, internally flawless, vivid yellow diamond rose out of the James Bond table. And that was just one of multiple items she bought that day,” says Dunn, who is reluctant to reveal the total amount of the sale.

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Thereʼs no doubt that the private showing room has paid for itself, especially when it comes to serving local executives. “When CEOs from around the area come in, we can wait on them privately. They donʼt want people looking over their shoulders when theyʼre spending lots of money,” he says. The storeʼs location in the financial district also provides another sales opportunity: making “house calls” to customersʼ offices. “Itʼs easy for our staff to visit nearby customers, who really appreciate it because weʼre working around their needs,” explains Dunn. “Some of our largest sales ever, well into six figures, have been made in these situations.”

A watchmaker and jeweler both work on-site, “which is cool for such a small store,” says Dunn. Customers also have access to the original designs of internationally renowned designer (and Dunn family member) Robert Pelliccia. Because when it comes down to it, despite the plush surroundings and gadgets, itʼs the people and services offered that put J.R. Dunn over the top… just as they have for years.

 

JUDGES’ COMMENTS

  • Cool but not cold! Museum-like interior, without being intimidating or too cold. Contrast of curved shapes and angled walls set against the striking wood cases with interlocking angles. Simply smart, clean design.
  • Beautiful, modern, light, open and airy is the impression of this retailer.
  • What makes this store cool is the lighting fixtures — fabric shades hanging like mobiles over the modern wood cases. Unexpected, residential in feeling.
  • The length of the windows and the impressiveness of the fixturing allow the viewer focus in on the tiny delicate scale of the jewelry and gems.
  • This level of detail and attention would give any customer a feeling of well-being and confidence. The store is not wishy- washy — straightforward, yet quietly elegant.
  • The contemporary, inviting environmental and exterior design and choice of accessories — lighting, showcase materials, etc — also serve to attract a younger customer. This important aspect “whom are we attracting” does not appear to be addressed (at least regarding exterior and interior design) by all of the other cool store designs.— Pam Levine, Levine Design Group
  • The store is very sleek and clean, but really reminded me of a department store. It doesn’t give a “warm, fuzzy” feeling. Architecturally, it’s fabulous and is definitely very high-tech. The remote-control display cases on the mezzanine are something I’d certainly like to see! I also like that the customers are able to have their jewelry displays designed on a large screen in 3-D.— Ron Wattsson, ‘Cool Store’ Winner 2004
  • Nice contrast between the light white tan hard surfaces and the softer wood-tones. Great enhancement and design support of a high ceiling environment to make sure the space works. Nice lighting treatments and variations. Showcase designs are well done. Simple, clean with just the right level of detailing to keep it interesting and inviting.— Greg Gorman, GMG Design
  • This is a beautiful store from the outside and in. The location is great and the use of light is impressive. A lot of natural light and a simple yet elegant interior finish off a great choice in space.— Joe Romano, Scull & Company
  • For having a location in an office building I feel they have done a marvelous job in creating a jewelry store atmosphere. Not too intimidating.— Richard Swetz, IJO
  • This store is very cool. This is a perfect upscale Florida store and the design is ideal for their location. It is clean, elegant, well-lit, modern and chic. The use of black as an accent works very well with the wood and white tones. I especially like the overhead lamps. Their round shapes give some softness to the angles below. As great as this store is, it’s too cool and geometric for my tastes. I like what they’ve done with the space and their selection of wood and frosted glass. It’s current and extremely attractive … but I prefer more warmth through color and/or texture. — linda cahan, Cahan & Company

 

PHOTO GALLERY (6 IMAGES)

Trace Shelton is the editor-in-chief of INSTORE magazine. He can be reached at [email protected].

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