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Editors' Picks

Winners to be announced in August.

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ALTHOUGH RESULTS OF the 2020 America’s Coolest Stores Contest won’t be released until late July at instoremag.com, we’ve pulled together a sneak preview of some of the entries that caught INSTORE editors’ eyes in four different categories: interior design, exterior of the store, marketing and online presence (which can include website, search platforms, reviews and social media). A panel of industry experts selects final winners by grading entries in those categories as well as for individuality and written application. As is always the case, the competition was formidable. Thank you for entering.

BIG COOL

de Boulle interior

Interior

WHAT THE EDITORS SAY: When it was time to update their flagship Dallas store, owner Denis Boulle turned to Gensler, the global architecture, design and planning firm that designed their award-winning boutique in Houston. Walls are a blend of warm and cool gray tones, combining residential warmth with modern crispness. While the palette is simple and neutral, a variety of textures and patinas adds interest. Designed by a local artisan and fabricated in steel, the spiral staircase is fashioned to reveal the de Boulle hallmark, an emerald-cut shape. The cozy lounge with comfortable furniture and bar is right next to the sprawling fireplace.

1. de Boulle, Dallas, TX
2. Thollot Diamonds & Jewelry, Thornton, CO
3. Carter’s Jewel Chest, Mountain Home, AR
4. Provident Jewelry, Wellington, FL
5. Ramsey’s Diamond Jewelry, Metairie, LA

Revolution Jewelry Works, Colorado Springs, CO marketing

Marketing

WHAT THE EDITORS SAY: Jennifer Farnes, owner of Revolution Jewelry Works in Colorado Springs, CO, says she loves being cheeky and pushing the boundaries of traditional jewelry stores, especially when it comes to marketing. The goal is to emphasize the company’s attention to quality and custom design. Print ads feature big and bold graphics with quips like “Wow”, “OMG”, or “Rock Hard.” Radio spots incorporate loud rock music and fun facts about the studio. TV and movie-theater commercials showcase delighted clients wearing their own custom-created jewelry. Farnes covers all the bases.

1. Jack Lewis Jewelers, Bloomington, IL
2. Carter’s Diamond of Petal, Petal, MS
3. The Diamond Family, St. Louis, MO
4. Revolution Jewelry Works, Colorado Springs, CO
5. Thollot Diamonds & Jewelry, Thornton, CO

Jack Lewis Jewelers of Bloomington, IL

Online Presence

WHAT THE EDITORS SAY: After Jack Lewis Jewelers of Bloomington, IL, closed during a state-mandated shutdown in March, owner John Carter and staff humanized their online presence appropriately by contributing videos about a special piece of jewelry and what it meant to them. Carter chose a beaded bracelet his children had given him. Other team members talked about a lucky penny pendant and a one-of-a-kind ring from a special person. “We treat Facebook as if it were our own TV network,” Carter says. “We have regularly scheduled programming. Those features are unique but on brand and promote various elements of our business. The other thing we do is highlight our staff in these features. We are not all about the owner. Our people are the key to what we do.”

1. Jack Lewis Jewelers, Bloomington, IL
2. de Boulle, Dallas
3. Carter’s Jewelry of Petal, Petal, MS
4. State St. Jewelers, Greensboro, NC
5. Patina Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

exterior of Julz by Alan Rodriguez, Canton, OH

Exterior

WHAT THE EDITORS SAY: Jeweler Alan Rodriguez purchased a circa 1950 bank building in downtown Canton, OH, that hadn’t been remodeled in over 40 years, and completely transformed it into the 21st century location of Julz by Alan Rodriguez. The store-design team gutted the structure and built a two-story glass cube that’s the focal point of the store, flooding it with natural light by day. At night, it becomes a beacon for drivers traversing the main road to and from downtown. The color of the cube’s light is easily changed to fit the team’s mood.

1. Julz by Alan Rodriguez, Canton, OH
2. de Boulle, Dallas
3. Carter’s Jewel Chest, Mountain Home, AR
4. Provident Jewelry, Wellington, FL
5. Thollot Diamonds & Jewelry, Thornton, CO

SMALL COOL

Hugo Kohl interior

Interior

WHAT THE EDITORS SAY: Hugo Kohl is located in an historical ice-house complex in downtown Harrisonburg, VA, a revitalized industrial space with several restaurants and a brewery as neighbors. The interior, with its high ceilings, original decorative brickwork and impressive concrete columns, is further enhanced with artwork on the boutique’s walls. Adjacent to the boutique is the workshop, affording visitors a behind-the-scenes look into how jewelry is designed and manufactured. Visiting this store would be both an adventure and a learning experience.

1. The Loupe by JB Hudson, Minneapolis
2. Hugo Kohl Jewelry, Harrisonburg, VA
3. Chronus Gallery, Bar Harbour, FL
4. Lane & Kate, Cincinnati, OH
5. The Diamond Room, Austin, TX

The Smithery, Columbus, OH exhibition postcard

Marketing

WHAT THE EDITORS SAY: Marketing at The Smithery in Columbus, OH, owned by Anne Holman and Jen Townsend, often focuses on featured jewelry artists. For their annual earring exhibition, Flaunt, they created a cross promotion with Virtue, a local salon. Stylists photographed salon clients wearing earrings from the exhibition, and The Smithery created the hashtag #flauntyourearrings2019 on Instagram for everyone involved to share. This built interactive excitement for the opening and throughout the exhibition.

1. Hugo Kohl, Harrisonburg, VA
2. Art & Soul, Boulder, CO
3. Brax Jewelers, Newport Beach, CA
4. Lane & Kate, Cincinnati, OH
5. The Smithery, Columbus, OH

Vardy's website video

Online Presence

WHAT THE EDITORS SAY: The family ownership team at Vardy’s Jewelers in Cupertino, CA, is fired up about the video splash screen across their website home page, which they use as an opportunity to let the world take a peek at how they make jewelry. They keep in touch with clients via text and chat to be as responsive as possible. Everyone featured on Instagram and Facebook pages is a customer, family member or employee. They’ve also been working on a new video series, “How It’s Handcrafted,” to showcase their artisans at work.

1. Lane & Kate, Cincinnati, OH
2. Vardy’s Jewelers, Cupertino, CA
3. Art & Soul, Boulder, CO
4. Lindy’s, Amelia Island, FL
5. Hugo Kohl Jewelry, Harrisonburg, VA

Erickson exterior

Exterior

WHAT THE EDITORS SAY: Erickson Jewelers owners Sherri and Randy Erickson purchased a century-old building in Iron Mountain, a small town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, after leaving a faltering strip mall location. They kept as many original features as possible, including interior brick and exterior architectural details. In past incarnations, the building had housed a bank, a combination drug store/soda parlor and a jewelry store, too. Exterior lights can be changed from the Ericksons’ signature blue to colors reflecting holiday seasons. These store owners have taken a stand for permanence and revitalization of their town’s downtown.

1. The Smithery, Columbus, OH
2. Lindy’s, Amelia Island, FL
3. Lane & Kate, Cincinnati, OH
4. Erickson Jewelers, Iron Mountain, MI
5. Hugo Kohl Jewelry, Harrisonburg, VA

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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Wilkerson Testimonials

When Liquidation Is the Best Option, This Legendary Jeweler Chose Wilkerson

George Koueiter & Sons Jewelers, a 65-year old jewelry institution in Grosse Pointe, MI, had always been a mainstay in this suburban Detroit community. But when owners George and Paul Koueiter were ready to retire, they made the decision to close rather than sell. “We decided our best option to do the liquidation sale was Wilkerson,” says Paul Koueiter. The results, says George Koueiter, exceeded expectations and the process was easy. “Wilkerson just kept us in mind,” says George. “They never did anything without asking and whatever they asked us to do was just spot on.”

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