BIG COOL 3rd PLACE: Provident Jewelry, Wellington, FL
Provident Jewelry, Wellington, FL
OWNERS: Rob Samuels, Scott Diament and managing partners Geoffrey Fear, Nick Linca and Seth Berman; URL: providentjewelry.com; FOUNDED: 1993; OPENED FEATURED LOCATION: 2018; TOTAL NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 7; DESIGN: ID & Design International (Sherif Ayad); SHOWCASES: Faubion Associates Inc.; EMPLOYEES: 7 in Wellington; AREA: 3,200-square-foot showroom; 4,000 square feet total; 13,600 total square feet; TOP BRANDS: MB&F, Breitling, Tudor, Chopard, Ulysse Nardin, Gucci, Roberto Coin; ONLINE PRESENCE: 93 4.9-Star Google reviews; 12,000 Facebook followers; 14,800 Instagram followers; BUILDOUT COST: $2 million
TO SAY ROB SAMUELS believes in brick and mortar retail cannot be overstated.
“I’m not a big online person myself,” Samuels says. “I’m probably the only person on the planet who never ordered anything online. I like going to the grocery store and picking out produce.”
That’s not to say he doesn’t realize that others do shop online. He just knows that brick and mortar, particularly when it comes to jewelry shopping, isn’t going anywhere. “I know that online has got to be an important part of my business and we are focused on it. But a lot of people appreciate an in-store experience.”
Provident Jewelry’s upscale brand is reflected in elegant ad imagery.
That experience continues to evolve for Provident.
When Samuels and his partners debuted their seventh location in Wellington, FL, in 2018, they doubled down on Provident’s trademark luxurious in-store experience, bringing along the clubby Dream Factory lounge concept they’d introduced in their Jupiter store, while extending the casual, side-by-side selling experience to the entire light and airy showroom up front.
“One thing COVID-19 has taught us is that people appreciate interaction,” Samuels says.
In fact, clients are so thrilled with spending time in the Dream Factory lounge that they bring their friends along, just so they can see and experience it, too.
Provident was founded in 1993 by Art Samuels and his son, Rob, in downtown West Palm Beach, after Art had retired from a career in the Navy. In 1999, Rob and his partner Scott Diament bought the majority interest in Provident from Art and began adding locations. With seven stores so far, there’s no end in sight. Put simply, the business plan is working. “I’m enjoying what I’m doing and it’s going well and I don’t see any reason to stop,” Samuels says.
When the first Dream Factory was added to the Jupiter store six years ago, it was designed to be a man cave, with a full bar and watches displayed casually, without traditional showcases. The Provident management team realized the change to side-by-side or seated selling made a big impact on the business.
So when it came time to build the Wellington store, the entire showroom was designed to eliminate obstacles between sales staff and clients. “There are no old-style counters where you go behind them to open them up,” Samuels says. “That creates a separation that I don’t like.”
In Wellington, built in 2018, Samuels envisioned a large and inviting space that could showcase jewelry and watches in the most elegant setting possible, but also make clients feel at home. To that end, amenities include a wine lounge, a full bar and a large outdoor patio to comfortably host any type of gathering from polo-season parties to more intimate gatherings.
The Dream Factory in Provident Jewelry’s Wellington location has the ambience of a an exclusive club, but is open to all.
In the showroom up front, jewelry and watches are displayed in modern showcases accented by a large sculptural chandelier and light, bright decor. In the back, the Dream Factory lounge is more intimate, with warm woods, dark leather furniture, a fully stocked bar, five flat-screen TVs, and design elements including vintage saddles and antique horse sculptures that reference Wellington’s equestrian history.
In Wellington, events, store design and even jewelry often revolve around the community’s equestrian ties.
The team takes an immersive approach to clienteling, forging relationships at polo matches and the nearby international equestrian center. At their most recent annual store party, Provident raised money for Polo for Life, a non-profit group co-founded by a professional polo star who lives in Wellington. Several necklaces, earrings and brooches feature a horse motif, including a vintage gold and diamond three-horse necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels.
“So far, every Dream Factory has had a specific theme,” Samuels says. “I want it to be unique to each store. They will all have the bar, and Jupiter has a cigar room and Wellington has the wine room and the equestrian theme.” More space was dedicated to the Dream Factory in Wellington, which is also more luxurious and more contemporary than the Jupiter prototype. He plans to retrofit previously built stores with Dream Factories wherever possible and has already done so in the Fort Myers location.
“In the days of e-commerce, you have to stand out, and the Dream Factory has been something that has set Provident apart,” Samuels says. “Our team is the most important element, but the Dream Factory really has given Provident a leg up and I don’t think it’s been widely copied. It’s been an interesting and important part of Provident’s evolution. It takes a real commitment to being a lifestyle place to purchase jewelry and not just be a classic jewelry store.”
The ownership team for Provident Jewelry’s seven locations in Florida includes Rob Samuels, at far right, with partners, left to right, Seth Berman, Geoffrey Fear, Scott Diament, and Nick Linca.
Moving Into Omni-Channel
Samuels’ appreciation for experiential bricks and mortar doesn’t mean he’s neglected virtual shopping. The goal this year, in particular, is to build online sales and engagement. In redesigning and relaunching the website in November 2019, the goal was to re-create the company’s luxurious, welcoming in-store experience for a smooth and seamless, omni-channel effect.
The newly refined e-commerce platform has had positive results this year, and Samuels characterizes the trajectory of online transactions as skyrocketing.
The website has its own social wall, too; clients can take a picture of their new watch or upload engagement photos. The social wall not only adds an interactive element to the website, it also makes clients feel like they’re a member of the family, says Samuels, who hopes the website will intrigue online visitors enough to say, “Next time we’re in Florida, we’re going to stop by the store.”
“Having an interactive element on the site was especially important, as it allows us to include our clients in our digital community,” Samuels says. “As a South Florida business, it’s typical to have clients who live here seasonally or see us while vacationing. Our goal with the revamped site was to maintain that customer engagement out of the store to encourage new and return visits.
“It certainly doesn’t replace opening a new store, but I’m pretty proud and happy with this design.”
- KATHLEEN CUTLER: I was most drawn to their use of VIP experiences for their customers. It made me think that they know their clients well and are looking to have long-term relationships with their best clients.
- KEN NISCH: Provident says luxury, with an interesting use of technology to give it an edge.
- ERIK RUNYAN: Provident Jewelry has great reviews. Customers wrote about feeling like family when they came in the store. Having generations of customers coming back to your store says something great about the staff and owners. Love the outdoor area for store parties!
- PRATIMA SETHI: The store interiors are very impressive and lavish. I love the outdoor event space, which is less intimidating and more inviting to a low-pressure buying scene. The polo tie-in is unique. The marketing collateral is beautiful and clean. For a traditional independent retailer, the social media presence is very strong.
- JEN CULLEN WILLIAMS: The interiors are remarkable with all the luxury touches for their customers. I like how they partner with their equestrian-based community to create relevant events around polo and jewelry. It’s a very upscale and chic store.
- ROD WORLEY: Provident Jewelry in Wellington provides an experience specifically tailored to the expectations of their clients. The interior is a sanctuary of South Florida style and amenity comforts.
PHOTO GALLERY (16 IMAGES)
Five Cool Things About Provident Jewelry
1 THE PATIO. Provident’s event season reflects the South Florida social scene, beginning around Nov. 1 until about the end of April. In the Jupiter location, events became so popular that they often had to rent tents to accommodate large numbers of people. So when the Wellington store was planned, they took the opportunity to design a patio for event space.
2 STAFF INVESTMENT. Provident invests in the team’s professional growth. Staff members attend JCK and Couture shows in Las Vegas, for example, where they can build relationships directly with brands. Provident also tries to make brand trainings as fun as possible, whether they’re at a high-end restaurant or across the world with the watchmakers themselves. “When our team bonds with the products, the brand feels like our extended family and the customer can feel that familiarity and excitement from our sales team,” Samuels says.
3 CULTIVATING MILLENNIALS. “I find that millennials are starting to buy watches,” Samuels says. “It’s brand dependent. Some brands will do well with millennials. All of our stores and e-commerce are focused on reaching first-time jewelry and watch buyers and developing them as they earn more money.”
4 COMMUNITY SUPPORT. Provident offers donations to live and silent auctions, sponsorship, and exposure through their in-store parties. Their 2019 holiday party charity partner was Quantum House, which supports families who have children receiving critical medical care in Palm Beach County. Provident’s staff also volunteers at the House cooking meals for the families or participating in events.
5 VIP EXPERIENCES. Provident hosts high-end private events in the space, complete with a full bar, ice sculptures, and live entertainment. They have hosted car shows at the store, where they showcase rare and exotic cars over breakfast or lunch. But Samuels and company also like to host global experiences. For example, they invite customers to the annual Robb Report Car of the Year event, where they can test drive rare sports cars. They host clients on international trips that have included private tours with watch brands in Switzerland and America’s Cup in Bermuda.