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David Squires

Fear Factor



Success breeds paranoia ? and lots more work

IF BEING GENUINELY COOL IS not caring about what other people think, then we probably come up a little short. We’re not totally immune to praise. And when people tell us we’re creating more buzz than any other magazine in the American jewelry industry, the buttons on our shirts tend to feel the strain of our puffed-up chests.  

To be honest, it feels great. It feels great. But it also scares us. 

After all, what is buzz but the electricity generated by dozens, hundreds, and finally, thousands of voices? And how does buzz go away? When those voices ? your voices ? stop talking, one by one, over time. 

How can we ensure that the buzz never goes away? It seems that the only answer is to keep getting better. (Or we could try giving all of our readers a persistent inner ear infection … but that seems unlikely.) 

Anyway, that’s what scares us. But it’s a good fear.  


That fear is highest when we do one of our annual ?theme issues? ? because they’re the easiest to compare with previous versions. We know what we did last summer (or fall, or winter). And you do, too. And we all know what we’ve got to beat. 

These theme issues include our May ?Vegas Tips Issue?, our June ?Vegas Products Issue?, and our September ?Holiday Selling Issue?. (And next year, we’re planning a new ?Survey Issue? that ? I promise ? will send every other survey issue ever published by any other magazine scurrying home to mamma with a sore behind.) 

The last but certainly not least of our ?theme issues? is the one you’re holding in your hand right now. Our annual ?America’s Coolest Stores? package. 

From our debut edition in 2002, ?America’s Coolest Stores? has been INSTORE’S most ambitious annual project. And each year, we go into it thinking: ?How can we make it bigger, do it better

, offer you more?? 
This year, the answer was:  

More pictures.  
More hard facts and details about each store.  
More instructive commentary from our judges.  
A greater feeling for the personality of each store and the people inside it. 
And finally, more inspiration and advice from some of the country’s most innovative store-owners.  


As we said … bigger, better, more. 

How’d we do? I don’t know. But I can almost always tell how good an issue is by how much my staff hates me at the end of creating it. And right now, as we send the final pages of this edition to the printers, I can tell you, my staff has never hated me more.  

Congratulations to Underwood’s Fine Jewelry for being named ?America’s Coolest Store?. 

And congratulations to the entire INSTORE team for doing such amazing work getting this to you. And surviving to tell the tale. I really don’t think we can do it any better. But wait until next August … and we’ll see what we can do. 

Wishing you the very best business …

David Squires  
Executive Editor and Associate Publisher  
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