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INSTORE editors reveal their top picks from this year’s crop of america’s coolest stores entries

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THE STORES YOU’RE about to see might be winners in next month’s special America’s Coolest Stores issue. Then again, they might not. That’s up to our panel of industry-expert judges. But these stores did accomplish something pretty significant: Their interior, exterior, marketing materials or website were good enough to land them in the top five after preliminary judging by INSTORE editors. (Stores are separated into two divisions, Big Cool and Small Cool, based on their number of full-time employees.) You’ll have to wait until August to find out who’s the coolest of them all, but this peek should get your creative juices flowing and maybe even inspire you to try something bold.


First Look

Small Cool

Interior

THE EDITORS SAY: We’ll admit that we’ve never seen anything like Alana before in a mall store. It’s like a tiny jewelry fantasyland.

1. Tara & Co. Fine Diamonds, Searcy, AR

2. Steve Quick Jeweler, Chicago, IL

3. James C Smith Fine Jewelry, Traverse City, MI

4. Alana: Antique & Estate Jewelry, Seattle, WA

5. T Lee Custom Designer Jewelry, Minneapolis, MN

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First Look

Exterior

THE EDITORS SAY: Housing a jewelry store for decades, St. John & Myers’ building displays its Depression-era character — and six large display windows.

1. Tara & Co. Fine Diamonds, Searcy, AR

2. St. John & Myers Jewelry, Lexington, KY

3. Steve Quick Jeweler, Chicago, IL

4. James C Smith Fine Jewelry, Traverse City, MI

5. Mora, Asheville, NC

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First Look

Marketing

THE EDITORS SAY: A consistently clean look and prominent distinctive logo in every ad tell the story of an upscale store that specializes in designer jewelry. It’s refreshing to see few words and a simple message told well.

1. Glenn Bradford Fine Jewelry, Port Washington, NY

2. T Lee Custom Designer Jewelry, Minneapolis, MN

3. Tara & Co. Fine Diamonds, Searcy, AR

4. Amethyst, Bethesda, MD

5. Steve Quick Jeweler, Chicago, IL

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First Look

Online Presence

THE EDITORS SAY: Virtu’s online presence includes a regularly updated blog that not only tells of trunk shows with its 30 jewelry designers but reinforces the store’s message of “shop local.”

1. Krombholz Jewelers, Cincinnati, OH

2. Virtu, Chicago, IL

3. Tara & Co. Fine Diamonds, Searcy, AR

4. T Lee Custom Designer Jewelry, Minneapolis, MN

5. J. Vincent Jewelers, Colts Neck, NJ

First Look

Big Cool

Interior

THE EDITORS SAY: Lewis Diamonds & Timpepieces’ largely black-and-white color palette creates a sleek, luxe look, while splashes of color, in the valance lighting and in a dividing wall spark a sense of fancy.

1. Silverado Jewelry Gallery, Bend, OR

2. Siebke Hoyt Jewelers, Cedar Rapids, IA

3. Bernie Robbins Jewelers, Somers Point, NJ

4. Lewis Diamonds & Timepieces, Webster, TX

5. Adeler Jewelers, Great Falls, VA

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First Look

Exterior

THE EDITORS SAY: An exterior clock at the corner, neat lighting that outlines the windows and the repeated use of the Diamond Cellar’s logo on the building and signage were details that stood out to make this one cool exterior in our estimation.

1. Levy Jewelers, Savannah, GA

2. Diamond Cellar Easton, Columbus, OH

3. Siebke Hoyt Jewelers, Cedar Rapids, IA

4. Bernie Robbins Jewelers, Somers Point, NJ

5. The Clay Pot, Brooklyn, NY

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First Look

Marketing

THE EDITORS SAY: Iowa Diamond parodies Dos Equis beer ads with owner Chuck Kuba as “The Most Interesting Jeweler in the World.” He ends the spot with the line, “Stay brilliant, my friends.” Amen.

1. Steven Singer Jewelers, Philadelphia, PA

2. Bernie Robbins Jewelers, Somers Point, NJ

3. Bremer Jewelry, Peoria, IL

4. Silverado Jewelry Gallery, Bend, OR

5. Iowa Diamond, Des Moines, IA

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First Look

Online Presence

THE EDITORS SAY: From Facebook to Twitter and from its website to Pinterest, Bremer Jewelry’s online presence covers all the bases with consistent looks, feel and messages.

1. Adeler Jewelers, Great Falls, VA

2. The Clay Pot, Brooklyn, NY

3. Steven Singer Jewelers, Philadelphia, PA

4. Bremer Jewelry, Peoria, IL

5. James Free Jewelers, Cincinnati, OH

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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Wilkerson Testimonials | C. Aaron Peñaloza Jewelers

Wilkerson Paves the Way for the Future

After serving the San Antonio, Texas community for decades, C. Aaron Peñaloza Jewelers closed its doors earlier this year. Aaron and Mary Peñaloza, the store’s owners, chose Wilkerson to handle their retirement sale. “In the first six days, we did six months’ worth of business,” says Aaron. “In the first three weeks, we did a year’s worth of business.” Mary Peñaloza says Wilkerson’s ability to tailor the sale to their store’s requirements really made it all so much easier. “They are professionals,” she says. “They know what they’re doing. They have a plan, but they will listen to you and adjust that plan to your needs.”

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