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Cool Store: Clodius & Co. Jewelers

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Clodius & Co. Jewelers

Clodius & Co. Jewelers

Address: 308 West State Street, Rockford, IL 61101, Phone: 815-490-9400, URL: clodiusco.com


FOR THEIR SECOND STORE, Mark and Monika Clodius wanted to create a shop that matched the creative flair they bring to their jewelry designs. The result? A striking overall look that provides a comfortable shopping environment in a store that matches modern interior design features to a building that’s a local historical landmark.

STORE INTERVIEW

How long have you been at this address?

Clodius & Co. Jewelers have been operating for two years in the former D. J. Stewart’s Department store, built at the turn of the century.

Years after D. J. Stewart’s closed in the 1970s, developers combined the old department store with neighboring buildings to create an attractive riverfront multi-use office building, a project completed in the 1980s. Today Mark and Monika Clodius’ jewelry store occupies what was once the department store’s coffee shop.

What are the most unique features of the store?

The shop’s 20-foot high ceilings give the small store a big feeling. And Clodius takes great pride in the wood grain display cases he designed and had custom built. A natural finish on birch wood gives the silver trimmed cases an earthy appearance.

He’s also very pleased with the computer station he created. Only the monitor is visible to customers, while underneath Internet access and high-tech gadgets provide the power.

Finally, the gritty turn-of-the-century limestone and the arched windows are other interior features the couple like about their store. 

Describe the interior of the store.

The high ceiling is painted in a rich amethyst purple while the walls are a pistachio green. The white almond carpet is textured to give a two-toned “ripple effect”. Colorful fabrics hung on the walls draw together the various elements and are consistent with the store’s overall color scheme. 

Who did the design?

“We did it,” boasts Clodius. “We approached some interior design experts but none of them could match our vision of what we wanted, so, we did it ourselves.”

Were there any specific requirements when it came to converting the building into a jewelry store?

The old space was a coffee shop, and as there aren’t many security issues regarding coffee, cups and saucers, the couple was required to renovate the area to reflect the much higher security requirements of a jewelry retailer. Certain areas were glassed-in and protected.

One key feature that was retained was the coffee shop’s big old dishwasher, which had its insides removed. And now that dishwasher serves as a casting well for what Clodius like to call the “world’s smallest production shop” — measuring  a compact 8’ x 10’ and containing a polisher, casting and mold masking machines and a kiln. 

What was the cost to convert the space?

Interior design [carpet, wallpaper fabrics, paint, electrical work, lights and lighting, labor, furniture, pergo flooring in the shop] cost $15,000. The cases, safes, computers, software, gem lab, complete shop tools and equipment for three jewelers, office and video display windows, cost an additional $100,000.

How do people usually react to the store?

After the “wow” reaction, the common response from customers is “discovering such a unique interior design even existed”, says Clodius. The color combination and custom-built cases are well-liked features of the store, “but the old weathered limestone backdrop to the store’s fresh and modern interior are what customers comment on most,” he adds.

What do you like most — and least?— about the store?

The arched windows that frame the trees outside is a view that adds to the “homey feeling” — especially when enjoyed from the shop’s rich forest green couch in the sitting area. The only drawback is the store’s  antiquated HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) system, which can get a bit noisy.

How does the design of the store fit in with the jewelry you sell?

The couple was considering other locations, but wanted to be in a landmark building. One big benefit to their location is being in art and theatre district near Rockford’s riverfront area — which the pair believes will help their ambitions to establish themselves as regional jewelers.

Any ghosts?

None, says Claudius. But an old fire-prevention technique used in the original building involved putting layers of sand between the floorboards. So, as the wood contracts, gaps open and sometimes it “rains” sand in the store.

This story is from the February 2003 edition of INSTORE

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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