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ACS 2006: Fifth Place, Long’s Jewelers

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Long’s Jewelers

Address: 100 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02110
Owners: Bob Rottenberg (CEO), Craig Rottenberg (President), and Judd Rottenberg (Principal)
Phone: (617) 426-8500
URL: www.longsjewelers.com
Year founded: 1878
Opened featured location: 2004
Architecture/Design Firm:
Robert J. Taczala and Ryan Martin of Brand + Allen Architects
Total store area: 5,500 sq ft
Number of employees (featured store): 10
2005 revenues (in featured store): N/A
Land cost: N/A
Building Cost: N/A
Interior build-out cost: N/A
Design/Architectural Firms Cost: N/A
Current estimated property value: N/A

Five Cool Things About Long’s Jewelers

1 CELEBRITY ACTION

Cooking Class

Long’s is no stranger to celebrity events. Tennis great John McEnroe showed up at the store last year to add some star power to a charity event aimed at supporting a local sports group. More memorable, though, was an appearance by local chef Michael Schlow, who staged a book signing and cooking demonstration at the store, says Long’s president Craig Rottenberg. Schlow’s restaurant Radius — “the place to dine in Boston” says Rottenberg — is located next to Long’s Summer Street store. So Rottenberg booked the chef for a lunch event and Schlow took a few hours to sign cookbooks and show off his cooking skills. “The name of the cookbook is It’s About Time, so we tied a watch theme to the event,” Rottenberg says. “Whoever purchased a TAG Heuer watch in the first part of June got a free, autographed cookbook from Chef Schlow. The interesting thing about the event was that the cooktop we rented broke down in the middle of his demonstration. Chef Schlow was making fennel-encrusted tuna and somehow managed to pull it off even with a broken stove, which was pretty amazing.”

2THE VOW

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Date With Destiny

For more than a century, Long’s had been a fixture on the retail landscape of downtown Boston. But as Boston’s urban population migrated to the suburbs, and big construction projects began shaking up the central part of the city, Long’s management decided to close the downtown store in 1997 so they could better serve their then burgeoning suburban clientele. Long’s CEO Bob Rottenberg vowed that someday Long’s would return to the city. In his mind was a particular downtown location — 100 Summer Street. Over time, however, the Rottenbergs resigned themselves to the likelihood that the 100 Summer Street site wouldn’t happen and began looking for other locations. “The day we were going to sign the lease on another location, someone we know told us that the 100 Summer Street location was available,” Craig says. “We jumped on it.  It’s fate that we secured that location.”

3TRUE TALE

Tummy Tickler

Long’s is a traditional store, but part of its cool appeal is how it caters to today’s younger more “specialized” jewelry customers. One such customer was a man who wanted a custom-made belly piercing item for his wife. “We were especially proud of this custom job because this gentleman had been to many stores and no one would help him,” says Craig. Rottenberg remembers the basic specs of the diamond — a stone weighing 2.5- to 3.0-carats of high color and clarity. “It was definitely a significant diamond,” he recalls. Long’s bench jeweler was able to set the diamond and complete the job in 15 minutes.

4CUSOTM WORK

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House Designs

Another custom job Long’s is particularly proud of involved a man who wanted an engagement ring that reflected the signature styles of famous architects. “The customer came in with architecture books and showed the jewelry designer several pages of architectural styles he knew his girlfriend admired,”  says Rebecca Garnick, Long’s marketing director. “He wanted to know if Long’s could create a ring that would represent these styles.” The resulting ring was a jewelry creation perhaps even I.M. Pei would be proud to own. Says Garnick: “It was hand-carved, a real labor of love for the designer.” The customer, of course, was delighted.

5THE TECHNOLOGY

Mood Lighting

Long’s has many cool high-tech gadgets. The resounding staff favorite, however, is a color kinetic lighting system for the box displays. The system is integrated into the nine box wall displays near the store’s main entrance. “It’s fun watching people come in the store,” says Garnick. “They are hit with these really lovely displays accented with cool, colorful lighting that can be tailored to the display, be it red and green for Christmas, pastel colors for Easter or any color or colors we program into the system. The system is very easy to use. To change colors is as easy as flicking a switch.”  — Paul Holewa

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FIVE QUESTIONS

Craig Rottenberg, President Long’s Jewelers

1 Long’s has six stores. Is the Boston store your favorite?

Picking a favorite store is like picking a favorite child. For me, and many people in this organization, the Boston store which won this award is a very special place as it truly is fate and fortuitous timing that brought us back downtown.

2 How does Long’s appeal to its high-powered financial-district clients?

By having plenty of staff on hand during peak hours — lunch-hour and early evening when people are going home. Having jewelers here at those times so that quick repairs can be done. And also by making deliveries for people who work in the financial district. For some extremely busy people, we’ll even bring the store to them — bringing them an assortment of jewelry from which to choose.

3 Your customers seem to really like your store’s plasma televisions. Do they like them too much?

We get a lot of walk-in business from movers and shakers in the financial district. So, we always keep the news on for them. It’s a customer-service feature that doesn’t detract from the beautiful jewelry and name-brand watches we sell.

4 What advice would you offer a fellow jeweler looking to make a store as cool as yours?

The important thing is to never stray away from who you are and the identity you’ve created in your market.

5 So, you’re cool. How does it feel?

Terrific! Retail jewelers have a reputation for being stuffy and stodgy. We work hard to do things differently and to get people’s attention. Having Long’s downtown store place fifth in this competition recognizes that effort and it feels good.

CUSTOMER APPRECIATION

Three memorable comments from customers of Long’s Jewelers, according to Craig Rottenberg:

1. ”I  want to move in here.” 
2. ”I’ve got a vacation coming up. Can I take it in your store? I can spend my time shopping and watching TV. I might even work a little because it’d be nice to be around your fine staff and your fine jewelry.”
3. ”I like shopping for jewelry here because of the big plasma televisions. When my wife buys jewelry, I can sit and watch the game. We both leave happy.”

JUDGES’ COMMENTS

Celeste Sotola
Interior Designer

This store has a rhythm and style that flows well. It hums!

I love the wall vitrines! Each one a story, each story pulls the viewer into possibilities of whom they might be, as if someone were saying “or how about this?” That feature does the invisible work the staff might forget to do.

The design of cabinetry looks very American. It suits the Bostonian business clientele. The floral carpet is for those who want to “stop and smell the roses.”

I wasn’t as comfortable with the back of the store where business is conducted. It looks a bit like a bank. Adding a few more flourishes of art would tell the history of the jewelry better.

The ceilings are excellent. Rarely do people give attention to this part of a room. When done beautifully, they “speak” to the cabinets and designs below, and make the topic of lighting less obtrusive.

Ruth Batson
American Gem Society

Why is this store cool?  Location, location, location. This store is in an office-building location on the border of the financial district, the Downtown Crossing shopping area and South Station. There is no lack of well-heeled foot traffic for this store!

The nine backlit light boxes are used not only to provide merchandise information, they are used to convey holiday and event themes. Sometimes it is as simple as changing the color of the light to create a theme or mood.

Bruce Brigham
Retail Clairty

While this was not my first choice for cool store, it sure is a great example of good design. Without a strong exterior façade, it has trouble competing with some of our other entries.  But it has lots of the other “necessities” to make it rate cool: planning and design, fixturing, color palate, lighting, and a memorable style.

If I could change one thing here, it might be the carpet.  It is beautiful — but I think it is a bit too strong a design element, and takes away from the focus on the fixtures and jewelry.

Gary and Kathy Bigham
Bigham Jewelers

Although the very busy carpet is an immediate distraction, the curved wall in the entry with nine distinct display cases is impressive.  What a great way to catch the eye of the consumer and showcase what’s new and hot! We appreciated their statement that “privacy is extremely important when making a jewelry purchase” and that this concept is expressed in the showroom design.

Ellen Fruchtman
Fruchtman Marketing

Mixes the best of traditional Boston with contemporary touches.

Not sure the signage on the awning provides the best exposure. I might also consider the name on the back wall you can see from that area.

Kate Peterson
Performance Concepts

This design says that that Long’s has stepped into the “high-end quality for the children of the historic Long’s customer” realm. It looks as through they caught a glimpse of the future and decided to go after it. A well-calculated risk!

I’m not sure about the overall shape of the store and the flow. To me, it looks like it has too many “blind spots.”

I might tone down the carpet pattern a bit.  Looks to me like it fights some with the other elements.

Rick Segel
Author/Consultant

A very old traditional classic Bostonian business that has been updated perfectly to reflect today’s marketplace.

Terry Sisco
Exsellerate

The floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides of the building entice the millions of passersby to have a look.

The décor throughout the entire store is reminiscent of the downtown carriage-trade stores of yesteryear. The rich dark woods, floral carpet and gold leaf accents convey a sense of trust, quality and strength. The upscale atmosphere provides a perfect place to make an important purchase.

Lori Wegman
Wegman Design Group

I love the floor plan revolving around a strong central curved service area.

Framed displays in a gridded format — simply elegant!

STORE IMAGES

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This story is from the August 2006 edition of INSTORE

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