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America's Coolest Stores

Hyde Park Jewelers -“Cool” Story



Hyde Park Jewelers
Phoenix, AZ
Owners: Michael and Shereen Pollak
Year founded: Original Denver store, 1976
Opened featured location: 2003
Renovation: 2008
Area: 5,000 square feet
Number of employees: 70+ (in three stores)

If Hollywood were to craft one of its stock-in-trade thrillers around the life of a jeweler, it would probably go something like this: Young man with artistic bent shuns Dad’s wish for him to be a doctor and instead follows a love of colorful rocks into remote dry lands to trade with indigenous tribespeople. He parlays this experience into great business success and by the time he reaches middle age is running an eight-figure retail operation. He’s got industry cred from his service on jewelry associations, is forever tinkering with technological innovations, and spends much of whatever time he has left over hobnobbing with pro sports stars and celebrities at black-tie charity functions that raise huge amounts of money for the disadvantaged. It’s at this point someone steals his identity, kidnaps his sister or the NSA comes calling. Michael Pollak is still Michael Pollak, to the best of our knowledge. But that rocks-to-riches story, with a few corners cut (he had a partner), is also his. It’s no surprise then that he when he added a new store in 2004 – and then expanded it last year – the result would be one cool establishment. – CHRIS BURSLEM

5 Cool Things

Architectural reflection
1. With its rough stacked limestone, floor-to-ceiling glass walls, tabu hardwood and hand-wrought stainless steel, Hyde Park is a reflection of its regional location. "It’s something that’s evolved over the last 15 years. We’ve created a palette of elements that reflects the feel and tastes of the Southwest," says Michael Pollak, of the design, which is intended to be light and inviting but also upmarket. "We want to be exclusive and casual at the same time," he adds. The centerpiece is a one-of-a-kind art glass chandelier designed by Robert Kustr that has 493 uniquely handblown elements and appears to pay homage to the desert sun.

10, 9, 8, 7 …
2. To build awareness about the Phoenix store’s remodel, Hyde Park’s marketing team created a "Countdown" campaign featuring watches and jewelry arranged into 10 numbers, counting down to the relaunch. The marketing effort used direct mail, magazine, newspaper, billboard, Duratrans and online advertising, and promoted a microsite,, with a sweepstakes to win 10 jewelry items, both for men and women. The countdown theme was carried through in Hyde Park’s celebrated window displays and at the launch party.

Causes and effects
3. With success comes responsibility and Hyde Park has been no slouch with its philanthropic efforts. Among the main beneficiaries have been the Children’s Hospital of Denver, National Jewish Hospital, Kempe Foundation, Fresh Start Women’s Foundation. Hyde Park’s own nonprofit, Diamonds in the Rough, has raised more than $500,000 for children’s causes. "Our purpose is to find organizations and individuals that are ‘diamonds in the rough,’ and assist them in becoming treasured gems," Pollak explains.


DIY rewards program
4. Pollak acknowledges that when he started making plans to expand the Phoenix store he had no idea the economy would come to such a shuddering halt at about the same time as it was due to reopen. By the time he realized difficult times were ahead, the "train had long left the station," he says. Still, he remains confident in the store’s long-term prospects, a confidence based in part on the store’s data-collection efforts and a loyalty program called Platinum Rewards. The program, launched by Pollak in 2003, and licensed to other independent jewelers, enables storeowners to offer rewards to their best customers. It now has more than 14,000 members and allows consumers to receive points with more than 1,000 online retailers. People who are enrolled shop 70 percent more frequently in his store and spend 60 percent more, Pollak says.

Remote-control management

5. From his headquarters 900 miles away in Denver, or just about anywhere, really, Pollak can tap into his laptop and watch what’s going on in the Phoenix store through its security system, check inventory or run analysis on the store’s financial data thanks to the state-of-the-art technology installed in the store. Other technological elements in the store include video screens that support the branding story Matrix 3D technology that enables Hyde Park’s design team to illustrate in real time.

Try this:
Create your own diamond cut
OK, it’s not easy but it’s a nifty point of differentiation. Hyde Park’s proprietary "Classica" cut produces a square stone that flashes the "rainbow of colors normally achieved in a round diamond." The cut has proved popular with brides looking for something unique.

"This is the prettiest store in the country," a vendor who travels to hundreds of stores a year.



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Wilkerson Helped This Jeweler to Navigate His Retirement Sale Despite a Pandemic

Hosting a going-out-of-business sale when the coronavirus pandemic hit wasn’t a part of Bob Smith’s game plan for his retirement. Smith, the owner of E.M. Smith Jewelers in Chillicothe, Ohio, says the governor closed the state mid-way through. But Smith chose Wilkerson, and Wilkerson handled it like a champ, says Smith. And when it was time for the state to reopen, the sale continued like nothing had ever happened. “I’d recommend Wilkerson,” he says. “They do business the way we do business.”

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