Connect with us

Editor's Note

Editor’s Note: Eileen McClelland On Relating To The Cool Crowd




Their inspiration comes not so much from where they are now but how they got there.

Published in the August 2014 issue

Ta-da! I’m excited to introduce the 2014 lineup of America’s Coolest Stores this month.

Yes, sometimes, I know, it may be hard to relate to “the cools.” Maybe you’re not ready to build a $2.5 million, architecturally distinctive store as Jay Klos did last year in Florence, AL. Or even spend a more modest amount on personalizing a rented space like David Iler did in 2005 in Portland, OR.

But remember that it took years for them to be ready, too. They paid their dues before achieving their dreams.


Jay grew up in the jewelry business but went the wholesale route before unexpectedly finding his dream job as owner of a downtown jewelry store. When commerce shifted to the edge of town, he took a chance and leaped. Grogan Jewelers was featured in a series that appeared in INSTORE in 2012 and 2013. Jay shared with our readers the steps he took to build his destination store — from groundbreaking to his grand-opening party in June 2013, to which I was chauffeured in the store’s vintage Rolls Royce!

David had a successful career as a welder before finding jewelry to be a new calling — one suggested by his fishing buddies. He kept his day job while he apprenticed, unpaid, with a jeweler for two years, and opened his own store after paying his dues as a goldsmith in another. I felt privileged this summer to visit Alchemy, where David and his partner, Laura Mapes, demonstrated the kind of hospitality that endear them to their customers, who visit Alchemy for its personal touch as well as its artistic flair.

Eileen McClelland
[email protected]



Wilkerson Testimonials

Wilkerson Helped This Jeweler to Navigate His Retirement Sale Despite a Pandemic

Hosting a going-out-of-business sale when the coronavirus pandemic hit wasn’t a part of Bob Smith’s game plan for his retirement. Smith, the owner of E.M. Smith Jewelers in Chillicothe, Ohio, says the governor closed the state mid-way through. But Smith chose Wilkerson, and Wilkerson handled it like a champ, says Smith. And when it was time for the state to reopen, the sale continued like nothing had ever happened. “I’d recommend Wilkerson,” he says. “They do business the way we do business.”

Promoted Headlines

Most Popular