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Launching an Outlet

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THE IDEA

Borsheims Fine Jewelry and Gifts in Omaha, NE, opened its Borsheims Boutique on Nov. 15, 2013, at the newly revamped Nebraska Crossing Outlets, a $112 million, 350,000-square-foot, open-air shopping center. It represents the first additional retail location for Borsheims, one of the largest independent jewelers in the country.

THE EXECUTION

Borsheims, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., had been meeting with the outlet shopping center’s development team for about two years.

When the center secured luxury tenant brands including Kate Spade, Coach and Michael Kors, it seemed like an ideal fit.

Adrienne Fay, director of marketing for Borsheims, says the company has always strived to provide luxury at a value, offering everyday discount prices at its flagship store, and showing both the MSRP and the discounted price on its tags.

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“We thought it was a great idea to introduce Borsheims to new customers,” Fay says. “Borsheims has been known for its value proposition. We’ve had experience for over 100 years in that luxury value space. It’s in our wheelhouse.”

Once they signed on, they had just two months to pull together the 5,500-square-foot space.

Simplifying the project somewhat, the store has the same look and feel as the flagship — the tile, carpeting, paint color, cases and etched glass are copies of the originals, and are intended to re-create the Borsheims experience.

In preparation for the opening, Borsheims did a great deal of broad, mass-media advertising rather than targeted direct mail. They offered a discount distributed through a coupon book that was sent to 20,000 households in the ZIP codes surrounding the new store. And they had a soft opening for 300 people the night before the store opened to the public.

And of course, excitement over the Borsheims opening was intensified by the enthusiasm generated by the opening of the entire shopping center.

Nebraska Crossing Outlets (and the Borsheims Boutique) estimates more than 100,000 customers visited during the first three days the store was open.

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Fay says the merchandise is specially sourced for the boutique through Borsheims’ vendors and manufacturers, who have been able to create a suite of pieces at an even bigger discount than the flagship store provides.

How else is the boutique different? It offers a more edited collection of services. They clean rings and take in repairs, but transfer them to the flagship store rather than do the repairs on site. Gift-wrapping is less labor intensive at the boutique, too, involving ready-to-go boxes and gift bags.

THE RESULTS

The boutique was also open on Thanksgiving Day, along with their outlet neighbors, while the flagship store, not known as a Black Friday destination, kept regular hours on Friday and did not open at all on Thursday. “We were pleasantly surprised by the traffic we received,” Fay says.

Do It Yourself:

Opening a second store? Keep your brand consistent with a similar look to your flagship. Consider how you can maintain great customer service with a scaled-down staff and less square footage.

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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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