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Jewelers Celebrate Their Roots with Design Elements in Their Stores

History can be one component of a brand portfolio.

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HISTORY IN ITSELF is not necessarily a selling point. But tracing your store’s or your family’s roots in your community is worthy of emphasis to demonstrate a history of quality and commitment. In addition, personal history, memories and inspiration can be built into a store, even if it’s owned by first-generation jewelers.

Here are some great examples of store design elements, decor and social-media posts imbued with symbolism.

Jewelers Celebrate Their Roots with Design Elements in Their Stores

Watching the Clock
Mitchum Jewelry, Ozark, MO

After watchmaker John Mitchum purchased Trantham Jewelry in 1961, he changed the store name to Mitchum Jewelry and asked Ron Bilyeu, a local sign painter, to also change the name on a double-sided clock that hung prominently on the Ozark Square near the store. When it came time to expand their freestanding location in 2018, John was able to restore the clock. John and his son, Randy, tracked down Bilyeu, who repainted the words “Mitchum Jewelry” on the sign. John’s original watchmaker’s bench, which had been circulated throughout the Ozark community since the beginning of the 20th century and was signed by previous watchmakers, is also on display at Mitchum Jewelers.

Jewelers Celebrate Their Roots with Design Elements in Their Stores

A Tradition of Quality
Kelley Jewelers, Weatherford, OK

An image of founder F.L. Kelley at his original watch bench hangs in a prominent spot in Kelley Jewelers’ showroom in Weatherford, OK. Next to that image is the wall clock that has been kept in pristine working order since F.L. first hung it up in 1931. “More than 90 years later, it is a symbol of our continuity with the past and our tradition of quality,” says owner Kim Ingram.

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Jewelers Celebrate Their Roots with Design Elements in Their Stores

Just Look For the Clock
Wanna Buy a Watch, Los Angeles

At Wanna Buy a Watch, a vintage double-faced Gruen neon clock has served as an outdoor signpost for more than 25 years. “It serves the community by announcing the time to westbound and eastbound pedestrian and vehicular traffic,” says owner Ken Jacobs. “And while some people think that we are The Gruen Store, no one has to remember our address; they just look for our clock. The fact that our clock is from the 1930s really tells the vintage story of our shop. We are a landmark in the neighborhood.”

Jewelers Celebrate Their Roots with Design Elements in Their Stores

Ice Breakers
Dutille’s, Lennon, NH

At Dutille’s, owned by Jude Dutille, history is not just a thing of the past; it’s a constant conversation starter embodied in a large silver, hand-engraved plaque and the 1880 Joseph L. Hall safe in the store. The plaque, engraved by J.S. Wolfe, the original store owner, dates back to 1910 when he was a student at the Philadelphia College of Horology. Both are great conversation starters with customers; everyone wants to know how it got in the building. Both items offer a glimpse into the store’s past and its rich tradition of jewelry-making.

Jewelers Celebrate Their Roots with Design Elements in Their Stores

Photo Wall
Drenon Jewelry, Independence, MO

Founder Mike Drenon quit his factory job to pursue his dream of owning his own jewelry store in 1945. He and his wife, Pansy, took their life savings of $500 and invested it into a tiny shop in an old strip center. He built his own showcases and carried his merchandise around in a shoe box. The jewelry store has been a huge part of the family ever since, a legacy that is celebrated with a photo wall in the family’s newest 8,000-square-foot store, which debuted in 2018. Third-generation owner Steve Frisch, Mike’s grandson, started at the store when he was just 7 years old. Staff is mostly comprised of third and fourth-generation family or those who been there long enough to be considered family.

Jewelers Celebrate Their Roots with Design Elements in Their Stores

A Storied Past
Murphy Jewelers, Pottsville, PA

Fourth-generation jeweler Mallory Murphy recently unearthed a treasure trove of old advertisements and newspaper articles about the Murphy family that she’d never seen before, dating back to 1913. “It’s brought a whole new meaning to #tbt (throwback Thursday) social media posts, as we’re able to give customers a glimpse into our storied past. It’s interesting to see our earliest advertisements signed off as ‘jeweler and optometrist,’ as well as ads telling trolley patrons to stop off the trolley and get their watches repaired. We even unearthed our very first ‘ad’: an announcement in a 1913 newspaper stating our great-grandfather opened up a watchmaker’s shop!”

Jewelers Celebrate Their Roots with Design Elements in Their Stores

Memorable Apparel
Craig Husar, Brookfield, WI

When Lyle Husar founded his business, he was very well known for wearing the traditional attire of Swiss watchmakers, which happened to be lederhosen (leather shorts with suspenders). “We always worked it into our ads and got a lot of good laughs out of that, but people remembered us,” Lyle says. His son, Craig Husar, framed the last pair of lederhosen his father wore and hung them up in his new store.

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Jewelers Celebrate Their Roots with Design Elements in Their Stores

Sign of the Times
Julz, Canton, OH

A 1940s neon sign announcing “Jewelry and Watch Repair,” found in the House of Stones building in New Philadelphia, OH, was restored and hung near the shop in the newest iteration of Julz in downtown Canton, OH. Both stores are owned by Alan Rodriguez.

Jewelers Celebrate Their Roots with Design Elements in Their Stores

Nostalgia on Display
Moonrise Jewelry, Cape Charles, VA

Outside Moonrise Jewelry two features reflect owner Meredith Lusk’s roots; an antique iron bench with Victorian motifs from her grandmother’s garden, and flickering faux gas lanterns reminiscent of her time in New Orleans as a Tulane undergrad.

Jewelers Celebrate Their Roots with Design Elements in Their Stores

Family Inspiration
Revolution Jewelry Works, Colorado Springs, CO

When designing her store, Jennifer Farnes, owner of Revolution Jewelry Works, wanted to give a nod to her family’s story and her favorite memories. “My mother collected driftwood from riverbanks to decorate the front yard of my childhood home, which inspired all of our wood to be stained a dark gray,” Farnes says, “and the countertops are knotty pine with natural faceted gemstones suspended in the hardened epoxy. My first experience welding was when my father and I built a giant toolbox for his long-haul work truck, which inspired the diamond-plate accents.”

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Moving Up — Not Out — with Wilkerson

Trish Parks has always wanted to be in the jewelry business and that passion has fueled her success. The original Corinth Jewelers opened in the Mississippi town of the same name in 2007. This year, Parks moved her business from its original strip mall location to a 10,000-square foot standalone store. To make room for fresh, new merchandise, she asked Wilkerson to organize a moving sale. “What I remember most about the sale is the outpouring excitement and appreciation from our customers,” says Parks. Would she recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers? “I would recommend Wilkerson because they came in, did what they were supposed to and made us all comfortable. And we met our goals.”

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