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America's Coolest Stores

Here Are This Year’s America’s Coolest Store Honorable Mentions

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Big Cool Honorable Mentions

Beré Jewelers
PENSACOLA, FL 

Owner Barry Cole is a first-generation jeweler who opened his dream flagship store with his wife, Laura, in 2017. An 18-foot granite community table is the centerpiece for meetings, events, and refreshments. Original industrial-style open ceilings were preserved and old Chicago reclaimed brick was brought in from local sites to build the columns and walls of the showroom. Judges note the active blog, social-media engagement and savvy branding. Top brands: Forevermark, Omega, Breitling, John Hardy, Tag Heuer


Fakier JewelersHOUMA, LA 

Greg Fakier and family celebrated the grand opening of their 5,000 square-foot store in April. Their goals — obviously achieved — were to create a home, a museum and a jewelry store all wrapped up in one. Cool things include: an audio app, which allows shoppers to hear about products in the store on their cell phones, museum-style; a wedding pergola, which overlooks the bayou; and a patented diamond cut called “Momenti di luce,” which means “the moment of light.” Judges say this store is raising the bar and describe it as so beautiful and bright it feels like visiting a home. Top brands: Rolex, Tag Heuer, FOPE, Vahan, Momenti di luce


Northeastern Fine JewelryALBANY, NY

Owner Raymond Bleser operates three locations in upstate New York, including the newly renovated store in Albany, which he describes as having a New York City look with a hometown feel. He graduated from Albany College of Pharmacy and worked in his father’s drugstore for one day before deciding he needed a different career. His business started in 1980 when he decided to expand his hobby of collecting rare coins and gold into a business, and then expanded his offerings in 1985. “My mother taught me to be nice to everyone,” Bleser says. “You meet the same people on the way up as you do on the way down.” Judges say they play well to their strengths with social media and merchandising. Top brands: Cartier, Tacori, Simon G., IWC, Forevermark.

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Reis-Nichols Jewelers
INDIANAPOLIS, IN 

Owner William P. “B.J.” Nichols last year oversaw the renovation of his company’s mall store with a focus on client experience. A hospitality bar, which greets customers with a variety of refreshments, turns into an actual bar during private events. The new space also includes several seating areas: a comfortable waiting space, a unique round semi-private diamond showroom on the middle of the sales floor, and a luxurious watch lounge. Judges call it a wonderful blend of heritage and modern. Top brands: Rolex, Patek Philippe, David Yurman, Roberto Coin, JB Star, Forevermark


WIlliams Jewelers of EnglewoodENGLEWOOD, CO 

Owners Steve Williams, Diane Williams and Shaina Williams put their hearts into the design and atmosphere of their new 12,500 square-foot freestanding store with finishes and casework hand selected to resemble a Colorado mountain retreat. The exterior features stone, wood and stucco that coordinates with the interior design. Other highlights include a 6-foot chandelier with gold aspen leaves, textured wallpaper and wood planking on the ceiling. Judges adore their focus on customer experience and say the store design is thoughtful. The bright interior and the outdoor signage create a modern feel. Top brands: Rolex, Tacori, Verragio, Hearts on Fire, John Hardy

 

Small Cool Honorable Mentions

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Adornment + TheoryCHICAGO

Adornment + Theory (A+T) is a curated art jewelry and design studio. Owner Viviana Langhoff is passionate about representing emerging artists who are crafting the future of functional art and design. She custom-designed the store, drawing inspiration from contemporary art galleries and Hollywood Regency and Moorish design. Judges say it’s refreshing to see a space as well-appointed and thought-out. Beautiful, elegant and polished. Smart choices on every level. Top artists: Sarah Swell, Nikki Nation, Laura Wood, W. Britt


Marissa PerryNEW YORK

Marisa Perry Atelier, owned by Marisa Perry and her husband, Douglas Elliott, is a jewelry design house and retail store in the West Village. They specialize in diamond wedding jewelry. “I designed my store with a lot of seating space in order to make my employees and customers more comfortable,” Perry says. She also encourages sales staff to dress in their own style and sell in the way they’re most comfortable. Top brands: Marisa Perry, Douglas Elliott, Christian Bauer, Benchmark, Zenove


McCoy JewelerDUBUQUE, IA

Jonathan and Jennifer McCoy, who bought the business in 2013 from Jonathan’s father, Robert, recently completed a renovation of the historical Main Street store. “Our most important lesson is to follow our ABCs: ‘Always Be Changing,’” Jonathan says. In 2004, when the family decided to refocus on custom bridal jewelry, they implemented Matrix and then CounterSketch. “We are always implementing new ways to serve our clients and give them a truly custom experience,” Jonathan says. Judges call it charming, warm and well-designed with a polished, unique retail atmosphere and a smart use of the space. Top brands: McCoy Jeweler Custom, Noam Carver, Naledi, Stuller, Artistry.


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Mucklow’s Fine JewelryPEACHTREE, GA

Owners Robert and Priscilla Mucklow say Mucklow’s “coolness” stems from a respect for the planet that starts with their tagline, “Inspired jewelry with ethical integrity and purity of source” and continues with their support of over 30 charities a year. The amount of the store’s donation to each is based on how many supporters a charity can encourage to visit the store and sign a book. In four years, they’ve given tens of thousands of dollars to charities and received tens of thousands back in sales. Judges cite Mucklow’s as a model of how to stay connected and relevant to customers for life. Top brands: J.B. Star, Henri Daussi, Gregg Ruth, Dabakarov, Nina Nguyen


Wear Your GraceSANTA FE, NM

Owner Hillary Randolph based the store on her aesthetic sense of what “grace” looks like. It’s warm and inviting with a luxurious feeling of elegant simplicity, housed in a 250-year-old adobe building. It’s fun, too. From funk to feel-good tunes, music adds to the gallery’s ambience — just another reason guests enjoy their visit. From time to time, Randolph turns up the tunes and dances through the gallery (often right out the door and back in), further reminding staff to live life fully with GRACE and laughter. Judges call it savvy and artsy, with touches of whimsy. Top brands: GRACE and Etkie, hand-loomed bracelets crafted by Native American women artisans.

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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After 42 Years in Business, They Chose Wilkerson to Close Up Shop

After 42 years, it was time for Gina McHugh to hang up her bench tools and plan on doing something completely different. She and her husband, Mick, had a beautiful Binghamton, NY store — The Goldsmith — but in late 2019, the time felt right for retirement. They called Wilkerson. “They’d always been a part of our bridal jewelry selection,” says Gina, “and I felt really good about their quality and service. So, when we were looking for someone to work with us, Wilkerson was a natural.” With the kind of service and support Wilkerson is known for, Gina says their sales consultants made their retirement sale, “successful and quite easy.”

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