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David Squires

Cooling Off

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IT’S THE HOTTEST MONTH of the year, and that means one thing: it’s time to think cool. Yep, it’s Instore’s third annual ?America’s Coolest Stores? awards issue, and we’ve got to say, this particular edition is cooler than a polar bear’s toenails. We’ve got more pages, more pictures, and more revealing insights from our panel of expert judges than ever. (Thanks, guys!) We’re sure you’ll find loads of ideas to improve your store.

We’re even bringing you the true secret of creating a cool store ? which you can find on page Page 54, in a column from Ruth Mellergaard and Keith Kovar of Grid/3, a New York City-based design firm. The secret, in short, is to be yourself. The fact is, there’s nothing less cool than a retailer who’s trying to be something they really aren’t. And there’s nothing more cool than one whose store truly expresses him or herself.

And we’ve come across no store this year that better expresses the owner’s personality than this year’s ?America’s Coolest Store? ? Wattsson & Wattsson Jewelers in Marquette, MI, where the highlight has become veritable tourist attraction, a natural-history museum styled to look like a gold mine. 

Of course, being yourself isn’t exactly a guarantee of cool. (After all, there are a lot of people out there whose true selves are most honestly expressed by watching the World Wrestling Federation in a dirty undershirt while munching on a ham sandwich.)

Come to think of it, maybe there is some possiblity for a wrestling-themed jewelry store. Ambient noise: roars, grunts and howls of pain. Life-sized mannequins of famous wrestlers holding ring displays, threatening customers ?You’re going down!? as they pass. Maybe even a big wrestling ring in the center, where male customers can grapple with the owner to get 10% off their engagement ring purchases.

Insane? You bet! Cool? You know, for some people, it would be. Hey, I’d go there…at least for the free ham sanwitches. 

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Wishing you the very best business …

David Squires

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When the Kids Have Their Own Careers, Wilkerson Can Help You to Retire

Alex and Gladys Rysman are the third generation to run Romm Jewelers in Brockton, Mass. And after many decades of service to the industry and their community, it was time to close the store and take advantage of some downtime. With three grown children who each had their own careers outside of the industry, they decided to call Wilkerson. Then, the Rysmans did what every jeweler should do: They called other retailers and asked about their own Wilkerson experience. “They all told us what a great experience it was and that’s what made us go with Wilkerson.” says Gladys Rysman. The results? Alex Rysman says he was impressed. “We exceeded whatever I expected to do by a large margin.”

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