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America's Coolest Stores

ACS 2017 Honorable Mentions

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Small Cool Honorable Mentions

Bravo Jewellers

Owners and brothers Edward and Eugene Notovich designed their full-service jewelry store themselves. They started with a cement floor and four unfinished walls and planned out every detail of the store, from the layout of the rooms and the shape of the ceiling to the outdoor sign and the wallpaper. They also designed their showcases down to the millimeter and had them custom-made.


 

Hamilton Butler Jewels

Owners Joni Hamilton and Shelia Butler consider their store, just steps from Hermosa Beach Pier, to be a hang-out spot. They love it when people stop by just to sit and visit with a glass of wine or indulge in the bloody mary bar on Sundays. They also enjoy working with clients to help them cultivate their own jewelry collections. They design about 75 percent of their inventory, with price points that range from $200 to $500,000.


 

Branham’s Jewelry

Second-generation jewelers Ken Branham and Joyce Hill caught the entrepreneurial bug at an early age and followed in their parents’ footsteps. In the family’s new store, they created a “Treasured Memories” room in which a bridal party can prepare for a wedding in any of the resort community’s outdoor wedding venues.


 

Alchemy 925

Alchemy 925 is a contemporary jewelry and fine craft gallery near Boston that represents 50 artists. Repurposing old gemstones, remodeling heirlooms, designing and creating custom jewelry all make up a large part of the business, which is owned by Munya Avigail Upin and Kirsten Ball. If coolness is judged by the number of hugs received from strangers and new customers, the store is successful beyond measure, they agree.


 

Robert Hallett-Goldsmith

Rob Hallett and his wife and business partner, Kyle Kotchey, own a true mom-and-pop design studio and retail store in a picturesque courtyard setting. Having a two-person business has meant that both have had to be resourceful — willing to learn new skills and do almost anything they need at a professional level.

 


Big Cool Honorable Mentions

John Atencio

John Atencio’s new store was conceived to create a unique, open studio experience suited to Boulder. The designer’s signature jewelry is showcased with lights hidden from view by a drop-grid made of Colorado hardwood. The walls display oversized giclee prints of John’s original paintings. Showcases are designed to be movable so the space can easily be transformed for social events and special occasions.


 

Pyrrha

Pyrrha designers Wade and Danielle Papin discovered a box of badly damaged wax seals in 2004 at an estate sale, which inspired Pyrrha’s line of talisman jewelry. In 2010, Pyrrha opened its flagship store.


 

Kesslers Diamond Center

In 2011, Kesslers became the only employee-owned retail jewelry company in North America. Its Grand Rapids store, which opened in 2015, represents a new market for the Wisconsin-based company with seven locations.


 

The Richter & Phillips Co.

A downtown Cincinnati anchor for generations, Richter & Phillips moved into its third downtown location in 2016. Owned by Fred, Rick, Art and Eric Fehr, the store has three generations on hand almost every day.


 

Koerber’s Fine Jewelry

To create a welcoming atmosphere in their new store, Felecia Koerber and her daughter, Jacquelyn, built a stone fireplace area with plush chairs where visitors can sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee or freshly-baked cookies from the coffee bar.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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Downsizing? Wilkerson Is Here to Help

Orin Mazzoni, Jr., the owner of Orin Jewelers in Garden City and Northville, Michigan, decided it was time to downsize. With two locations and an eye on the future, Mazzoni asked Wilkerson to take the lead on closing the Garden City store. Mazzoni met Wilkerson’s Rick Hayes some years back, he says, and once he made up his mind to consolidate, he and Hayes “set up a timeline” for the sale. Despite the pandemic, Mazzoni says the everything went smoothly. “Many days, we had lines of people waiting to get in,” he says, adding that Wilkerson’s professionalism made it all worthwhile. “Whenever you do an event like this, you think, ‘I’ve been doing this my whole life. Do I really need to pay someone to do it for me?’ But then I realized, these guys are the pros and we need to move forward with them.”

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