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Clients wearing masks and looking around for the hand sanitizer station may not be in the mood to hang out in any retail environment for hours on end this year. But comfortable seating goes a long way toward encouraging shoppers to relax, at least long enough to consider their purchase. And a seating area can help set a brand’s tone, especially if it complements the overall interior design. If you’re redesigning or rearranging your retail space this year, recognize that seating areas should offer plenty of room to spread out, ideally with a large coffee table between chairs or couches, which can create a natural obstacle to ensure a measure of social distance and breathing room between client and associate.

ZORELLS JEWELRY

FIT FOR A MOVIE STAR. Hollywood glam is the theme at Zorells Jewelry in Bismarck, ND, designed by Leslie McGwire & Associates, which debuted in 2019. With a 5,500 square foot showroom there is plenty of room to combine a comfortable seating area with a stylish Wine and Shine bar. Owners Tim and Sharon Ell, who love classic movies from the ‘40s and ‘50s told McGwire they wanted the store’s interior design to reflect what Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers would look like if they were a jewelry store. McGwire nailed it, they said, with flapper-style chandeliers, gold trim and marble floors. Framed photos of classic Hollywood movie stars are displayed throughout the showroom. Doo Wop and Sinatra set the musical mood.

KIRK JEWELERS

PRIVATE PANACHE. Kirk Jewelers’ Miami boutique has multiple private sitting areas, allowing staff to provide a high level of customer service. “We have always thought of our store as an extension of our homes,” say Allison Strongin, who owns the store with her brother, Jeffrey Newbauer. “These spaces have allowed us to offer the utmost in hospitality to our customers and friends.” One sitting area is in the Rolex salon, with a desk and couch, and another is in the Patek Philippe salon. “Our customers enjoy being presented and delivered rare timepieces and jewelry without being on show for everyone to see, greatly appreciating the privacy. We also have many customers who we think of more as friends who love to stop by to see anything new and exciting that has come into the store. They often bring in friends to sit and relax with a drink, while talking about their favorite hobby, watches.” Designed by ICON Architecture, the store opened in January 2020 with a 2,000-square-foot showroom.

NORTHEASTERN FINE JEWELRY

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS. Lounge seating at Northeastern Fine Jewelry in Albany, NY, one of three locations owned by Raymond Bleser, is sleekly upscale, comfortably modern and flooded with natural light. The 5,000 square foot store was treated to a $1.3 million renovation in 2017 by C2 Design Group. Bleser describes the store as having a New York City look with a hometown feel.

CARTER’S JEWEL CHEST

EXPANSIVE HOSPITALITY. Carter’s Jewel Chest, an America’s Coolest Stores 2020 honorable mention winner, boasts a 4,000-square-foot showroom with another 2,000 square feet to spare, as a result of a 2018 expansion. Jesse Balaity of Balaity Property Enhancement designed the space with a modern aesthetic, lots of natural light and white shiplap walls to create a light and bright space. The Carters’ vision for the store was that of a warm, inviting and hospitable atmosphere. An exposed ceiling adds to the industrial chic design. The seating area is flanked by a hospitality bar and TV.

TANMAI JEWELERS

A ROYAL RECEPTION. At Tanmai Jewelers in Irving, TX, plush, royal blue sofas flank a conference room table; the space is designed to host special events for customers and also serve as a VIP room for important sales presentations. The palatial-style store opened in 2018 with a 2,000 square foot showroom and a buildout cost of $2 million. Inspiration for the store design came from the White House, Las Vegas casinos and the temple of Vedic planetarium in India. “Our showroom has become one of the tourist attractions of Irving,” says Sanjay Singhania, who owns the store with his wife, Sapna.

PRESLEY & CO. FINE JEWELERS

A SPLASH OF RED. When owner Liz Saba opened her eclectic Presley & Co. Fine Jewelers in 2018, she made a splash designing a modest-sized 1,000-square foot space with a modest $150,000 budget. The interior has a palette of black, gray and silver with just a splash of red. From the Italian porcelain floor tiles to the tin ceiling and the black vinyl upholstered wall with “diamond” buttons, the store screams cool. “We describe it as elegant with a rock’n’ roll vibe,” Saba says. An inviting settee in a corner offers a respite for the fatigued while sending out enticing vintage vibes.

THOLLOT DIAMONDS & FINE JEWELRY

RAISING THE BAR. Joy and Troy Thollot like to say they’re raising the bar on the jewelry-shopping experience. The $1.2 million 2019 re-design of their Thornton, CO store draws inspiration from distilleries, breweries, museums and 19th century gold mines. Their 4,900 square foot showroom includes a Bridal Bar with private booths; a Pour Your Heart Into It casting bar, a Custom Jewelry Design bar, a jewelry repair bar and an actual, Colorado-style bar for celebrations. They call the experience the Thollot Bar Hop. The project was designed and built by Robert Dykman and RAD Construction. Thollot is the second-place winner in the America’s Coolest Stores 2020 Big Cool category.

de BOULLE

AT HOME IN DALLAS. Denis and Karen Boulle’s first priority has always been to make clients feel comfortable — to feel, quite literally, at home. They unveiled a $1.5 million renovation of their flagship Dallas store in 2020, which was implemented by global architect and design firm Gensler. Next to the sprawling fireplace in the 9,000 square-foot showroom, customers relax in a cozy lounge with comfortable furniture, cappuccino, and a bar stocked with some of the finest liquors in the world. Bright yellow chairs provide energetic splashes of color and echo the trademark color of de Boulle. De Boulle is the first-place winner in the America’s Coolest Stores 2020 Big Cool category.

ART + SOUL

A CHAMELEON OF A GALLERY. Debbie Klein, owner of Art + Soul in Boulder, CO, found space in her 1,200 square foot gallery, for a relatively spacious seating area splashed with natural light. She opened the location in 2018 with a $100,000 budget. Art + Soul’s is known for connecting with the local fine art community by featuring a different solo painting show every six weeks. Every show is different in terms of genre: from abstract and color field, to representational art. Each time a new show goes up, it completely changes the feel and look of the gallery. Jewelry window displays are coordinated to compliment the art that is hanging on the walls. Art + Soul is the second-place winner in the America’s Coolest Stores 2020 Small Cool category.

REVOLUTION JEWELRY WORKS

DESIGN DRAMA. Owner Jennifer Farnes says her “super fans”, who love coffee and comfy couches, visit Revolution Jewelry Works in Colorado Springs, CO, every Saturday on their errand runs. Farnes purchased the building she’d previously occupied on a smaller scale and oversaw the 2019 expansion and renovation of her showroom and shop for a total cost of over $2 million. The 2,900 square foot showroom (4,200 square feet total) also has semi-private booths where custom clients can sit, sketch, and design live with CAD experts. The interior is a fusion of wood and metal. Locally handcrafted cases are stained a driftwood gray and accented with metal. The floors look like liquid metal in silver and red, laid out according to a pattern Farnes created in Matrix.

BARIBAULT JEWELERS

FRONT AND CENTER. The 2018 renovation of Baribault Jewelers in Glastonbury, CT, included a cappuccino bar, a seasonal fireplace and a round diamond viewing table. The color palette is a soothing mix of gray earth tones with metallic gold, platinum and rose gold accents. Other features: The 1,600-square-foot space is light, bright and airy with big windows and a glass door, an open floorpan, an eternity-diamond-ring inspired chandelier and 360-degree showcases. Architect Hans Hansen led the renovation project for the Baribault family with a $200,000 budget.

WYO BRANDED GEMS & JEWELS

WYOMING FLAIR. Susan Gray opened WYO Branded Gems & Jewels in 2015 in a building that used to be a detail shop for the Ford garage. She created her store from the ground up, incorporating large metal support beams and pipe ducts into the design. The store has a contemporary look with Western flair, including accessories and artwork.

FAKIER JEWELERS

ELEGANT EASE. Fakier Jewelers, owned by the Fakier family in Houma, LA, has 5,000 square feet of airy, light-filled rooms with high ceilings, soothing neutrals predominated by white, and sophisticated furniture inviting enough to sink into all conspire to give the illusion of a high-end home. “That was most important to us,” Manon Fakier says. “I wanted you to be able to come in and sit down, have a cup of coffee and feel like you’re home. I wanted comfortable, but elegant. Now clients say, ‘I would move here to live.’” Manon was assisted by The French Mix in Covington, LA, for interior design. The store opened in November 2017. Fakier Jewelers is a 2018 America’s Coolest Stores honorable mention winner.

PROVIDENT JEWELRY

THE DREAM FACTORY. Art Samuels and associates, who own Florida-based Provident Jewelry, created Dream Factory lounges within several store locations. the Dream Factory lounges feature warm woods, dark leather furniture, a fully stocked bar, flat-screen TVs, and design elements that reflect their locations, such as vintage saddles and antique horse sculptures that reference Wellington’s equestrian history in their Wellington, FL, location. The Jupiter location has a humidor and well insulated cigar lounge space. Provident’s Wellington store is the third-place winner in the 2020 America’s Coolest Stores Big Cool category. Provident’s Jupiter location is a 2019 honorable mention winner.

WANNA BUY A WATCH

LIBRARY LOUNGE. Kenneth Jacobs’ Wanna Buy a Watch in West Hollywood, which opened in 2018, was designed to include a sizable and cozy lounge and library for sitting and reading and look at merchandise with customers. “Toward this end we designed a substantial wood shelved library that anchors our leather couch, chairs, and coffee table, and located this in the very front of the store easily visible through our front window,” Jacobs says. The buildout cost of the 1,400 square foot space was $150,000 and DWG Design Studio is the interior designer. Wanna Buy a Watch is the second-place winner in the 2019 America’s Coolest Stores Small Cool category.

Have a Seat! Check Out 15 of the Very Best Jewelry Store Seating Areas

Have a Seat! Check Out 15 of the Very Best Jewelry Store Seating Areas

Clients wearing masks and looking around for the hand sanitizer station may not be in the mood to hang out in any retail environment for hours on end this year. But comfortable seating goes a long way toward encouraging shoppers to relax, at least long enough to consider their purchase. And a seating area can help set a brand’s tone, especially if it complements the overall interior design. If you’re redesigning or rearranging your retail space this year, recognize that seating areas should offer plenty of room to spread out, ideally with a large coffee table between chairs or couches, which can create a natural obstacle to ensure a measure of social distance and breathing room between client and associate.