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ACS 2009: Fourth Place Big Cool, Diana Vincent Jewelers

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Diana Vincent Jewelry Designs

WASHINGTON CROSSING, PA
URL: dianavincent.com
OWNERS: Diana Vincent and Vincent Polisano
YEAR FOUNDED: 1981
OPENED FEATURED LOCATION: October 2004
INTERIOR BUILD-OUT COST: $650,000
ARCHITECT: John Charles of George Donovan AIA & Associates
STORE AREA: 3,500 square feet
EMPLOYEES: 10
SLOGAN: “Exclusively ours, forever yours!”

Momentous journeys and enduring art are part and parcel of Washington Crossing’s history — the Pennsylvania hamlet is named for the first American president’s trip across the Delaware River, immortalized on canvas by painter Emanuel Leutze. Since Diana Vincent has gone above and beyond to ensure that her store elegantly embodies the town’s spirit, it should be no surprise that clients travel miles for her timeless designs. And if the customers are willing to go the distance, it’s only fair that they receive the most hospitable welcome. “The idea is that it’s like walking into a Greek or Italian home,” Vincent says. “Not so much that you smell sauce cooking! But that kind of warmth is there.”

Five Cool Things About This Store

Homey Spirit

1 “We bought the property, and there was a small Cape Cod house on the premises. We blew the whole thing out — the only thing left standing was one wall and a fireplace,” says Vincent’s husband and co-owner, Vincent Polisano. The mission-style structure that replaced it still resembles a residence more than a retail outlet, however. “We didn’t build a monolithic monstrosity in this bucolic community.”

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Side-by-Side Selling

2The store’s interior was designed to facilitate side-by-side selling, with cases that stand alone or hang on the wall instead of forming a barrier between customers and staff. “It’s a very subtle thing, but there’s tremendous attention to detail,” says store manager Judy Weber. “It’s like a very good feng shui going on.” Vincent regularly bakes cookies for the showroom, and it’s not unusual to see a family dog lounging on the floor.

One Brand

3 Except for a handful of stragglers left over from years ago, every piece in the store’s inventory is a Diana Vincent creation. “We’ve been able to survive and thrive over 25 years because we primarily sold our own brand,” Polisano says. “I think that really sets us apart.” Vincent agrees: “Even if you travel across the country, you go into two different stores and you see the same lines. So people walk into our store and they go, ‘Wow!’”

Party Time

4 They know how—and why—to party. “This area is prone to flooding,” Polisano says. “So at the last flood, we had a giant flood party for the people from the Red Cross, the fire company, the police and all of the community.” Food and entertainment were free, and all proceeds from the cash bar went to the Red Cross and firefighters.

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Community Support

5 They share the wealth more literally, too. When a local hospital opened to combat breast cancer, Vincent designed a silver pin and made one for each of the hospital’s 300 employees. The store now sells them for $150 each, all of which goes to the Healing Consciousness Foundation, which opened the clinic.

Mission Statement

When we originally conceived the Diana Vincent store, the concept was to create an overall unique and memorable experience for our clients as well as our staff — a place that expressed our culture while showcasing the Diana Vincent collection in the best possible way. The goal was to create a Zen-like atmosphere and a shopping experience unlike a traditional jewelry store’s. We did not want the space to feel like a traditional store with defined barriers between the client and the staff; we wanted clients to feel as if they were entering the home of a friend or a peaceful spa retreat.

— DIANA VINCENT

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Cater To Your Employees

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“WE ALL SIT DOWN AND HAVE LUNCH TOGETHER,” store manager Judy Weber says. “Vince and Diana are outstanding cooks. It is not uncommon for Vince to bring in a roast beef and bread and salad. Last time, he brought in a prime rib! We’re having literally a dinner party for lunch! They care very much about their employees, and it shows.”

What the Judges Say

MICHAEL M. CLARKE: The tranquil colors of the salon, the ready proximity to each jewelry presentation and the discreet intimacy of showcase placements promote the cultivation of a personal and memorable shopping experience.

SARAH READ: The website gives us a taste of what it’s like to shop with Diana, but just enough of a taste to pique curiosity and tempt us to come in.

KATY BRIGGS: How do you offer an exclusive one-of-a-kind experience without being intimidating? Just ask Diana Vincent.
The store’s unique blend of sleek sophistication and casual charm is breathtaking.

BOB TACZALA: A traditional exterior facade blended with contemporary interior is cool. The minimalist interior, pared down to just a few materials, creates an elegant and hip store.

TODD REED: I thought the interior of this store was the strong suit. They have impeccable taste and are designers themselves, I like the clean minimal displays, and like the idea of contrasting the sleek modern vibe with the rural vibe. Very cool.

ADAM GRAHAM: I love the way Diana blended traditional architecture with clean modern lines and big windows; creating great curb appeal.  The inside of the store is fresh and bright with cool cases and displays that really allow for a focus on the product.

STORE IMAGES

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This story is from the August 2009 edition of INSTORE

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