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Brooklyn’s The Yellow Door Celebrates 50th Anniversary

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(Press Release)

BROOKLYN, NY – The Yellow Door, a retailer of fashion jewelry and home furnishings with two locations in Brooklyn and New Jersey, is turning 50 this year.

The Yellow Door started in 1966 as a small gift shop and has since grown under the tutelage of second-generation owner Luna Bijou Zemmol, who took over running the business in 2005. Previously the senior buyer for jewelry, Luna now manages the overall business along with her husband Jonathan Zemmol.

Luna re-focused and tailored the buying and merchandising to reflect today’s fashion trends. She expanded relations with high-end designers, such as Brooklyn-based jeweler Alexis Bittar. “Before Luna took over, we did a nice core business with The Yellow Door,” Bittar says. “However, 10 years ago our sales really started to ramp up. We host trunk shows at The Yellow Door, and today they are one of our top independent retail outlets in the country.”

In addition to in-store sales, The Yellow Door does significant business online, thanks in part to marketing efforts on Instagram and Facebook. “It used to be that our storefront was our best form of advertising,” Luna says. “Now, with the advent of the internet, we reach tens of thousands of customers everyday.”

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The Yellow Door has maintained steady growth through market downturns by embracing more sophisticated business techniques. In 2013, the Zemmols’ hired outside consultants to streamline and improve computer systems, inventory buying and marketing. Luna and Jonathan also brought in a professional in-house jeweler so that all fine jewelry and watch repairs, along with custom-design work, is handled at the store – creating a new line of business.

Back when the store first opened with 500 square feet of retail space in a residential neighborhood, Brooklyn residents had to rely on Manhattan for the best shopping experience. Sallee Bijou, along with her friend Gladys Shabot, set out to change that by offering luxe “212” shopping to her “718” friends and neighbors. Shabot retired a few years later, and Sallee nurtured the business and developed its identity. With an oversized personality, Sallee took risks in starting a business well before it was common for women to work outside the home. Sallee, who passed away in 2005, was interviewed by Women’s Wear Daily shortly before her death and said, “I worked diligently to provide discriminating customers with the jewelry and gift brands they want, with the service they deserve, and at the prices they expect.” The original “door” was in the heart of a residential neighborhood, on Avenue M, near the old historic Vitagraph studio. The store has grown in size and stature, with the flagship Brooklyn store now covering more than 6,000 square feet. A second location opened in 1977 in Deal, a resort community on the Jersey Shore.

Throughout the spring, The Yellow Door will host a series of special events, trunk shows and charity benefit sales at both store locations and online at theyellowdoor.com.

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