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Jules R. Schubot Jewellers

In search of Americaʼs most unique jewelry retail businesses.




Jules R. Schubot Jewellers, Troy MI

OWNERS: Jules R. Schubot; ADDRESS: 3001 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy MI 48084-3101; OPENED: 1917 (original location, Detroit) ; LAST MAJOR RENOVATION: 1991; EST. PROPERTY VALUE: N/A; PHONE: (248) 649-1122; FAX: (248) 649-1209

IN 1917, DOWNTOWN DETROIT was the center of American industry and Jules R. Schubot served some of the countryʼs wealthiest industrialists. But by 1975, industry was in decline in Detroit and Schubotʼs son, Douglas, decided it was time to move. He chose the suburb of Troy, MI, to bring the familyʼs business in 1975. In 1991, the familyʼs third-generation took over and Douglasʼs son, Brian, directed an store redesign to update the image of the business. The result? A private jewelry salon where fine art and beautiful jewelry reside in elegant harmony.

Youʼre in an office building. How does that affect business?

Says Brian: “Weʼre on the first floor of an office building across the street from the Somerset Collection, one of the top prestige shopping centers in the country. The decision to not be in the mall was a major part of our ʻCool Storeʼ strategy. We are not restricted to mall hours and therefore can offer a much smaller, higher-trained staff to work with customers on a more personal basis. It also provides more flexibility in the design because we do not have to fit with any mall requirements. We also chose the office location for added security of our customers, employees and suppliers since anyone watching from the outside does not know where people are going when they enter the building.”


Describe the interior of the store.

Says Brian: “In designing our store we wanted an environment that would enhance the luxury shopping experience for our customers but not chase them away. We have a locked door entrance for security but made the entrance all glass so that it would still have an “open” feeling. The luxury shopping experience begins with the Lalique crystal door handles on our entry doors. The overall design of the showroom is based on the octagon shape of our logo, and the table of a diamond. The ceiling is cut in multi-steps around this octagonal pattern. The store design is executed mainly in steel, glass and black granite with the showcases finished in wood to soften the modernistic look. The showcases are designed with welded glass edges so there is no metal to block the view of the jewelry when people are looking in. The lighting is designed so that the halogen fixtures can be an optimal distance from the cases but not take away from the open ceiling. To achieve this we use a low voltage track system with suspended fixtures. We also use Lalique crystal wall sconces throughout the store for added luxury design. And, in the center of our showcases is an island pedestal with an original Henry Moore sculpture.”

Were there any specific requirements when it came to converting the building into a jewelry store?

“There werenʼt any major hurdles to overcome with the original build out in 1975 and the renovation 1991, but we did have some difficulties in committing to this office space back in 1970s. We were one of the first tenants in the back part of the building and had little hallway exposure. For years people didnʼt even know there was a jewelry store in the building. When we had the chance to expand the salon in the early 1990s we added space toward the entrance of the building, and made the entrance glass with crystal giftware pieces nearby to get people to look in. Itʼs more obvious weʼre here, but weʼve managed to maintain the privacy and security of a salon,” says Brian.


How much did it cost to renovate the salon? Was it worth it?

“Back in 1975 the original build out was about $200,000. After the renovation in 1991 there was nothing left of the original 1975 store but the vault. The cost of that renovation was about $600,000. Yes, it was worth it, as we feel weʼve created an elegant store that is a comfortable salon setting where people can buy jewelry,” says Brian.

How do people usually react to the store?

“The first reaction from people is this is an elegant store that puts people at ease so they can relax and concentrate on buying jewelry. We get many comments and compliments from customers and vendors but we keep hearing the same two words — elegance and comfort,” says Brian.

Do you think the unusual appearance of the store helps sales?

“Definitely. From the moment a customer touches the crystal Lalique door handles to seeing the Henry Moore sculpture, and then seeing the quality jewelry … itʼs all over. People know theyʼre entering an elegant retail jewelry environment,” says Brian. “We have many customers who travel to Europe and shop at upscale jewelry stores, but they donʼt buy [over there]. They prefer to buy fine jewelry from our store because we service customers with high quality jewelry that denotes excellent taste,” says Douglas. “If it isnʼt the best quality jewelry that evokes elegance, we wonʼt sell it and vendors know this. I know one top-end watch and jewelry vendor that has been trying to sell me for five years. I havenʼt bought anything from him yet. Weʼre very discerning and so are our customers.”




This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

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