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America’s Coolest Stores 2017 Winners Revealed!
America’s Coolest Stores 2017 Winners Revealed!

America's Coolest Stores

America’s Coolest Stores 2017 Winners Revealed!

The Year’s Coolest Jewelry Retailers Unveiled!




Congratulations to the winners of the 16th annual America’s Coolest Stores Contest! In the following pages — and in the months ahead — discover why these stores earned the stamp of approval from our judges. As in past years, we divided the entries into two categories — Big Cool (six or more full-time employees) and Small Cool (five or fewer). We asked two five-member teams of judges to evaluate stores based on their back story, interior, exterior, marketing, online presence and what we here at INSTORE believe is the most important intangible: individuality.

Our six America’s Coolest and additional 10 Cool Store honorable mentions — each of which will be featured in INSTORE issues through June 2018 — represent creative approaches to doing business as well as aesthetically-pleasing retail environments. If you haven’t taken the time to enter yet, why not give it a shot in January 2018? The entry process alone can be invigorating. But before you do, have a look in the following pages at what puts these stores at the head of the 2017 class. We think you’ll be inspired!


Malak Atut is the “chief sparkle maker” at New York-based Zaiken Jewelry. She has served as president of the Contemporary Design Group and is on the board of the WJA.

Michelle Bailey, owner of interior design firm Atmospheres LLC in Michigan, has decades of experience creating diverse commercial and residential design projects.

Nick Boulle officially joined his family’s business, deBoulle Diamond & Jewelry, when the Dallas-based company opened its Houston location, which was named America’s Coolest Store in the Big Cool category in 2016.

Dan Kisch is the executive director at SmartWork Media, publishers of INSTORE, INVISION and Pets+. He has served on fund-raising committees and event boards including Jewelers for Children, NCCJ, UJA, AJC, ORT and the 24 Karat Club of New York.

Ben Smithee, CEO of the Smithee Group, is an expert in digital marketing, the future of retail and the millennial consumer.


Monique delaHoussaye-Breaux, president and principal designer of POSH Exclusive Interiors, designed Dianna Rae Jewelry in Lafayette, LA, voted one of America’s Coolest Stores in 2016.

Bernadette Mack is the executive director of the Women’s Jewelry Association, a non-profit focused on the advancement of women in the jewelry and watch industries.

Thomas Mann owns Thomas Mann Gallery I/O in New Orleans, 2016’s America’s Coolest Store in the Small Cool category.

Josette Patterson opened her first showroom and studio with husband Mark in Corona Del Mar, CA, in 2010. In 1986, they established their jewelry design firm in the heart of New York City’s diamond district.

Megan Whitmire is marketing manager for the American Gem Trade Association and secretary for the Dallas Chapter of WJA. She graduated from the Art Institute of Dallas with a bachelor of fine arts in fashion marketing and management.



This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

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