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Curt Parker Jewelers

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Curt Parker Jewelers, St. Louis, MO

OWNERS: Curt and Elizabeth Parker; ADDRESS: 10192 Conway Road, St. Louis, MO; PHONE: (314) 989-9909


ON THEIR STOREʼS SILVER ANNIVERSARY, Curt and Elizabeth Parker discovered a golden opportunity. After selling jewelry for just over 25 years on the second floor of a bank building, the Parkers decided it was time to build a free-standing jewelry store. Located in an area which brought the Parkers closer to the bulk of their customers, the new store was all-glass, which has caused some customers to liken it to a “jewel boxʼʼ when illuminated in the evening. By day, thereʼs plenty of sunshine which adds to the overall warmth of the storeʼs coral color scheme and custom cherry wood display cases. Itʼs a look that says “Welcome!”

How long have you been at this address?

For one year. We discovered the empty lot a year earlier when we had plotted our customer base to decide where to move the store. One day, we saw the contractor pouring the foundation and commented that would be a great place for our store. Later the same day, we saw a “For Lease” sign going up on the empty lot. Elizabeth called the owner, who said, “If youʼre not interested in doing something within two weeks, I donʼt want to talk to you”. Her answer was, “If you want to have a deal on it, get by my office tomorrow”. (We only had a week to either re-sign our present location or give notice we were moving). The owner came by in the morning, and by the end of the following day we had a 20-year deal.

What would you say are the most unique features of the store?

The most obvious feature to our store is that itʼs all glass. Some customers have even called it a “jewel box” when seen lit up in the evening. Naturally there were several considerations with an all-glass store. With insulation, security and lighting considerations in mind we decided to install double-pane industrial thermal-pane windows from Pella Windows and Doors. Another unique feature to the store is our walk-in vault, which weighs several tons — the door alone weighs 14,000 pounds. This type of vault makes it easy to transfer lots of jewelry at opening and closing times. We also like the variety of display cases throughout the store. Tall men like the wall display cases because they donʼt have to crouch down to look at our jewelry. And, we have many freestanding display cases that allow our salespeople to work beside the customer, which gives customers a feeling that theyʼre working together with a salesperson.

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Please describe the interior of the store.

We combined traditional materials such as warm oiled cherrywood cabinets with apricot-colored Pergo marble floors to create a modern yet classic design in the 1,800 sq-ft space. Rose carpeting and bright blush walls provide a warm contrast to the stainless steel vault and go well with the overall coral color scheme. Showcases are eye-level for customer comfort and sit-down sales tables made of Anthracite were added to show jewelry without the distraction of glass counter tops displaying other jewelry below the glass. Backroom operations are divided into a kitchen/lunchroom and a full-service shop.

Who did the design for you?

We did the design with the architect just doing the final blueprints.

Any specific requirements when it came to building the store?

With an all-glass store the biggest challenge was to balance the tremendous amount of exterior light with a tremendous amount of interior light. One important feature was adjustable lighting to accommodate different lighting conditions throughout the day. We had to combine fluorescent and halogen lighting to create just the right viewing conditions.

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How much did it cost to build the store? Was it worth it?

The cost of building the store without the land was $600,000. The build-out was $300,000. It was definitely worth it with sales increases every month. Over the past year, we have seen a gain of 50 percent in gross sales. Plus, in the move we didnʼt lose a single regular customer from our old location. Many of our customers say that even though they live in Clayton it is easier to get to the new store and they love the 17 parking places and the two handicapped parking spaces at the door.

How do people usually react to the store?

Everyone loves it. We get people in the neighborhood stopping by to thank us for building such a beautiful store. Although the interior coral color is more feminine, men seem to like it even more than the women. One interesting comment comes from a sales rep who says, “Every time I come into your store, I feel like Iʼm out of town. This doesnʼt seem like a jewelry store one would find in St. Louis.”

Do you think the appearance of the store helps sales?

Because we were an upstairs private jeweler before moving to our present location itʼs hard to compare earlier results with last yearʼs. We now have 90,000 cars a day passing us that we didnʼt have before.

PHOTO GALLERY (5 Images)

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