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Follow the Yellow Brick Road

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AT HAIG’S OF ROCHESTER, Paul Haig likes to think out of the box when choosing themes for store events. So for his store’s 41st anniversary in 2014, he rolled out the yellow brick road and not the traditional red carpet for his guests, in honor of the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz film.

THE IDEA

Inspired by the introduction of Royal Chain’s Angelica bracelets, which have a Wizard of Oz-themed charm collection, staff spent three months planning and executing the decorations, which included a lighted flying witch — a full-size mannequin riding a bicycle — attached to an exterior wall of the store. A polycarbonate tornado added to the eerie effect. Inside, guests could hear “the voice of Oz” behind a curtain, and a soprano soloist sang Over the Rainbow for entertainment. A yellow brick road scene was displayed in the window and painted on the sidewalk out back.

The decoration effort was helped along by the fact that some of Haig’s 22 employees specialize in art restoration in his business, which is part jewelry retail store, part jewelry restoration shop and part art gallery. Angelica loaned Haig Oz-themed posters and other marketing material.

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THE EXECUTION

The introduction of the Angelica line was part of a modernization effort for a store known for its expertise in antiques. Haig won awards for his historic renovation of the three-story 1914 building, but, he says, “We went a little too historic in our look so we’re going back to a little more modern. The consultant that we hired has brought in new lines that appeal to younger clientele and put it in the front windows so people understand that we are changing.”

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Angelica bracelet with Oz-themed charm by Royal Chain

Haig has 1,400 square feet on the main floor. “We changed the position of things. We had movable walls, so we took everything out of the front and added taller cases, too, to bring jewelry up to eye level. You can see into the store now; before you couldn’t see past the front windows.”

The changes also made the space more event-friendly, giving people room to mingle in the center of the store.

The store invited 250 people, most of them long-term customers, to the anniversary party scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. on a Wednesday in early July. “We don’t focus just on the biggest buyers. We view ourselves as a community jewelry store. We have a lot of clients who spend $300 to $500 a month from us on a regular basis and make a larger purchase every couple of years. We are their jeweler,” Haig says.

About 150 of those invited attended, and they had the chance to win movie-themed charms and bracelets from Angelica, and take part in a silent auction featuring prizes related to the film.

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Neighboring businesses pitched in, too, bringing pastries and other food, staging a wine tasting and donating items — Wizard of Oz books, a day at the spa, etc. — to the silent auction.

THE RESULTS

Sales during the event more than covered all expenses while making a splash with the introduction of new lines. The event also raised money for the Rochester Area Neighborhood House and collected shoes for the charity Flip Flops for Families.

Do It Yourself

  • “Start well in advance with planning, set a complete schedule and hold people accountable,” Haig advises. “Have regular meetings beginning three months in advance; and make sure the team is following through. Make it exciting; make it different; promote it on Facebook. Follow up invitations with personal phone calls.”
  • Planning an anniversary? Tie in your celebration with a pop-culture commemoration.

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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