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Best of the Best: Grand Opening

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[h3]Long’s Jewelers; Boston, MA[/h3]Best of the Best Logo

[dropcap cap=L]ong’s Jewelers is digging Boston’s “Big Dig.” The massive infrastructure project has revitalized the city’s downtown and given the 130-year-old jewelry store a chance to move back to its old neighborhood — at a time when Boston’s financial district is emerging as the city’s new shopping hot spot.

In “The Big Dig” construction project, Boston’s old expressway is being moved underground, ridding the city of the “Highway in the Sky” that turned much of downtown Boston into shadowy “flyover territory.” Conceived in the 1980s, work on the “Big Dig” started in 1991. This year, a major portion of the project is scheduled to be finished. In the 14 years since construction began, Long’s Jewelers has seen many changes of its own. Due to the difficulties imposed by the construction and the desire to focus on the suburban markets, Long’s closed the doors of its 40 Summer Street downtown location in 1997. It was a difficult decision, says Long’s president Bob Rottenberg. “We had been in the downtown area since the 1920s.”[/dropcap]

[componentheading]THE IDEA[/componentheading]

But Rottenberg had always intended on returning to the district when the right opportunity presented itself. That opportunity came when Rottenberg found a location at the Equity Office Building at 100 Summer Street, a steel and glass 32-story building that is an important feature of Boston’s skyline. Late last year, the store was ready to make its return to Boston’s downtown.

In the months leading up to the November 18 grand opening, Long’s conducted a promotional campaign that had all the subtlety of a “shock and awe” battle plan. “We heard from many people that they couldn’t turn anywhere [in the downtown area] without seeing our new store promotions,” said Rottenberg. “We wanted to make sure to drive people back to Long’s downtown location”.

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[componentheading]THE EXECUTION[/componentheading]

No surface or medium was sacred in an innovative and aggressive campaign outsourced to Boston-based Polese Clancy design firm. The most visible portion of the campaign was the “Station Domination” along the South Station’s Red Line, a major train commuting artery that shuttles thousands of commuters in and out of the downtown area each day.

“Along the Red Line were promotional posters,” says Long’s marketing director Rebecca Garnick. “For two months, we owned every one of those huge posters along the entire Red Line in South Station.”  

Even elevators weren’t sacred. With “The Girl from Ipanema” unplugged, promotions were played on elevator monitors for vertical commuters. Long’s was equally visible in print — with grand opening ads appearing in downtown business reads including the Beacon Hill Times, Boston Courant, Boston Business Journal, Boston Metro and Improper Bostonian. The company also opted for banner ads in Boston.com, as well as sending out 5,000 written invitations.  

To benefit from commuter trafffic, the grand opening party was actually broken into two separate events — one in the morning and one in the early evening. The morning ribbon cutting and press conference event was attended by a host of VIPs including Boston’s Mayor Thomas Menino. “His presence meant a lot of local media coverage from most of the local TV and newspapers,” said Garnick.  

Throughout the day Long’s hosted an open house. Besides food and drink, there was harp music and “living statues” on hand to model the store’s showcase pieces. Wish lists were also offered to guests to make certain their holiday wishes were fulfilled.

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Best of the Best: Grand Opening

[componentheading]THE REWARDS[/componentheading]

Roughly 1,500 guests attended each of the grand-opening events. In all, Long’s spent a “sizable amount of a multi-million dollar budget for the festivities,” says Garnick.  

For Long’s it was worth the outlay as its new downtown location is an investment in restoring the company’s long-standing reputation in Boston. “We were overjoyed with the turnout which went well beyond our expectations,” Rottenberg said. “People not only filled out wish lists, wishes actually came true that day.”

[span class=note]This story is from the March 2005 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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