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America's Coolest Stores

Fourth Place, Big Cool: Betteridge

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[componentheading] Quick facts [/componentheading]

[smalltext]URL: www.betteridge.com
Owner: Terry Betteridge
Founded: 1897 
Opened feature location: 2010
Area: 2,500 square feet 
Architect: Michael Suman Architects 
Employees: 12 in Vail/ 35 in Greenwich/6 in Palm Beach 
Top Brands: Betteridge Collection, Betteridge Estate Collection, Rolex, Patek Philippe, Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Audemars Piguet, A. Lange & Söhne, Bulgari, Ivanka Trump, Paul Morelli, Yossi Harari [/smalltext]


[dropcap cap=W]hat do you get when you combine more than 100 years of store history with top-of-the-line technology and immaculate store design? One of the most luxurious, customer-friendly jewelry shopping experiences in the land.[/dropcap]

Owner Terry Betteridge’s guiding principle in creating the store was to build a place where customers would enjoy simply hanging out. “An awful lot of shops very carefully arrange the cases so that as you walk to the thing that you most want, you have to walk by a lot of other stuff that they just want to sell,” says Betteridge, whose company also has stores in Greenwich, CT and Palm Beach, FL. “We really think about just making it comfortable, so you will come and loiter! I think loitering is a noble pastime if you’re doing it with friends in a nice place.”

[componentheading] Store Highlights [/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Watch Bar[/contentheading]

If you can appreciate a great Scotch, you’ll also appreciate a great watch — at least that was Betteridge’s theory when he built a Patek Philippe showcase that doubles as a pub-style bar. Customers are encouraged to belly up and explore the Swiss watch collection — an après ski for aficionados. “It’s not just a bar, it’s all wood. It looks like something you would see in the 1930s,” says Vail store manager Rob Shay. “It’s certainly the most unique feature in the store.” Shay adds that customers have stayed in the store longer as the bar has begun to operate at full capacity in recent times. “Everybody loves it. It’s an exciting new thing to talk about, a reason for them to come in,” he says.

[contentheading]Cutting-Edge Tech[/contentheading]

Large stores sometimes run the risk of customers not finding exactly what they want because of the way the jewelry is organized. Betteridge overcomes this obstacle through the use of a large touch-screen computer built into the watch bar that allows customers and staff to explore the watch and jewelry selection, even comparing items side by side.

[contentheading]Historical Company Elements[/contentheading]

When Betteridge purchased Vail jeweler Gotthelf’s in 2004 from his friend Paul Gotthelf, he began searching for the perfect space to merge a love of Colorado’s outdoor pursuits with the Betteridge quality and personality that had been so successful on the East Coast for over a century. The new space includes a legacy mahogany arch shipped from the Greenwich store, as well as mahogany wood paneling and artwork collected by Betteridge over the years.

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[contentheading]The Jewel Box[/contentheading]

Upon entering the store, customers are welcomed into the intimate space referred to as “the jewel box.” The bright sun shining through the windows from Colorado’s 300 days of sunshine adds to the sparkle of the colored stones in collections by Van Cleef & Arpels, Bulgari and Paul Morelli. The area provides a warmth and brightness that introduces customers to the friendly, unassuming yet luxury-conscious character of the Betteridge shopping experience.

[contentheading]Watch Paradise[/contentheading]

Customers walk from “the jewel box” immediately into a large space that showcases the best watch brands that the world has to offer. The center of the spacious room is dominated by an octagonal case showcasing the depth of the Rolex brand — and you won’t often find Rolex displayed under a chandelier of elk antlers! Patrons can easily maneuver through the large space (in ski boots or without) and browse nearly a dozen watch collections, including Cartier, Audemars Piguet, A. Lange & Söhne, Panerai, IWC and more, in addition to the Patek Philippe watch bar.

[componentheading]  Exterior [/componentheading]

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[componentheading]  Interior [/componentheading]

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[componentheading]   Marketing [/componentheading]

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[componentheading] What the judges say [/componentheading]

Bruce Brigham: A simple, powerful and yet somehow distinctive exterior. Inside, a nice mixture of rustic/elegant Vail, with modern casework and technology. The simple, wood design of all the displays makes all this jewelry really shine!

Curtis Bennett: I just feel relaxed looking at this store. It captures the essence of the resort community and feel. The added technology certainly sets them apart including a very user-friendly and appealing website to draw clients in.

Miho Koshido: High quality traditional details are so fitting to Vail and to house world-renowned brands as well as the estate jewelry Betteridge features. I particularly like the technological surprises embedded into the cabinetry, such as a large flush-mounted touch-screen monitor within this distinguished and classic space.

Robin Rotenier: This store makes you dream of flying in your jet to Vail to shop. It has a classic appeal — solid and very seductive in a comforting way. It feels like it will be there when your kids will need to shop for their kids! I like the blend of timelessness, elegance and Colorado Rockies — the wood, the warmth. All combine to make it very seductive, indeed.

Glenn Rothman: Terry Betteridge, through his marketing and storytelling as a radio and in-store personality, has some of the coolest marketing. His watch bar is a unique in-store experience for the customer; and he has embraced 21st century cool technology through his use of iPads and touch screens.

[componentheading] Try This [/componentheading]

[h3]Specials[/h3]

Betteridge posts its specials at the watch bar on a chalkboard. “We post info about a special item, and we do get a lot of people asking about it.” — Rob Shay, manager

[h3]iPad As A Sales Tool[/h3]

“iPads are great tools for selling and entertaining. Customers also like to check their e-mail on them.” — Rob Shay, manager

[componentheading]  Shop Talk [/componentheading]

[h3]Play List[/h3]

Says Rob Shay, store manager: “The majority of our clients are between 35 and 65, and they appreciate the music of the ’60s and ’70s. Most of them are on vacation, so they want to hear something fun. We try to make this our home, and we listen to music that we like and they like.”

[span class=note]This story originally appeared in the August 2011 edition of INSTORE. [/span]

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