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King Jewelers

Kings of cozy

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King Jewelers, Aventura, FL

URL: kings1912.com; OWNER: Scott and Maxine King; EXPANDED FEATURED LOCATION 2005; ARCHITECT: Peter Blitstein;
TOTAL STORE AREA: 7,500 square feet; SLOGAN: Jewelers of Integrity; NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 20-plus; TOP BRANDS: Chopard, Harry Winston, IWC, Breitling, Bulgari, Chanel, Tag Heuer, Judith Ripka, Roberto Coin, Roger Dubuis, Montblanc


KING JEWELERS, a fifth-generation business, is all about family. Owners Scott and Maxine King and their sons, Jono, a law-school grad, and David, formerly an investment banker, respect their past but are not mired in it. In 2005, they expanded their flagship Aventura, FL, store to a grand, but surprisingly cozy, 7,500 square feet, to accommodate a watch boutique. In 2007 they opened a second location in Nashville, TN, based on market research that the city is an emerging retail hot spot.

Maxine travels the world searching for rising design stars to supplement the top brands she already carries. “Our clients can’t wait for us to get back from the shows. They know when they buy jewelry here that people are going to wow over it.”

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Five Cool Things About King Jewelers

1. HISTORY.  Immigrant watchmaker Louis King arrived in Philadelphia in 1898. By 1902, he had followed the gold rush out west, setting up a trading post in Salt Lake City that sold everything from gold and diamonds to mining supplies and guns. In 1912, King decided to specialize in jewelry and reopened as King’s Jewelers. After various incarnations in Philadelphia and Atlantic City, the King family and their business settled in South Florida in the 1930s.

2. THE EXPANSION.  The main reason for the recent expansion in Aventura was to create a shop within a shop to showcase watches. To that end, the Kings expanded into an adjacent space that had been a video store in its past life. The Kings and their clients still marvel at how seamless the addition appears. “You can’t tell at all that this was two separate stores,” Maxine King says. “The ceiling is so intricate and we continued it like a mirrored image on the other side.” Although it’s large, King says it feels more cozy than sprawling.

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3. THE DÉCOR.  The interior is eclectic, with crystal chandeliers drawing attention to the molding and high ceiling. Cherry wood cabinetry, burgundy and gold carpets and textured walls infuse the airy space with warmth. “I have a very high taste level, and I’m very demanding and fussy. I’m very hands on,” says King, who planned the interior design. She says she’s claustrophobic, too, so she expanded the windows to let in lots of light. Furniture — primarily couches and coffee tables — is arranged to facilitate a relaxed European-style selling environment, away from the counters. “There are a lot of cozy spots in our stores.” Her love of natural light is also reflected in her choice of all glass office space that she shares with Scott and her large boxer, Andre, the store mascot. “We’re accessible always to the clients. We see whoever comes in and we can run out and give them a big hug and kiss,” King says.

4. EXTREME HOSPITALITY.  A full bar and full kitchen offer additional opportunities for extreme hospitality. “It’s like coming over to someone’s home,” King says. “We have lunches, wine, mimosas. The watch reps love coming in here because I’m always serving breakfast.” The Kings host half a dozen big charity events every year, many of them in the store. Super Bowl events with NFL players in attendance are also on the annual agenda. Watch dinners, smaller, more intimate events, take place in elegant restaurants and are presented as thank-you gifts to loyal customers. Some developments in hospitality are unexpected innovations undertaken by the fifth generation. “I came back from Europe to find a Jägermeister dispenser on my bar,” King says, incredulously. “Needless to say, it’s a hit. There are always crazy exciting things happening around here.”

5. ENGAGEMENT CONSULTANT.S Maxine King has been known to propel many a nervous groom-to-be straight out the door and into the arms of his beloved, with a suitable ring, of course, and the tough-love pep talk, “Just go do it.” The event-planning staff is adept at securing reservations at restaurants with waiting lists, or arranging romantic beach settings with candles and champagne. They’ve also set up helicopter rides, sporting-event proposals and dinners on private yachts. “Many bottles of champagne have been popped here,” King says.

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Five Questions with Maxine King

1. WHAT IS YOUR TITLE? No one has a title. We have a lot of chiefs around here. Everyone knows I’m the real boss. But that’s what makes the King family funny. No one really cares about being boss, but we all think we’re the boss. We all love what we do.

2. WHAT, BESIDES JEWELRY SELECTION, SETS KING JEWELERS APART? How dedicated the crew is. We manufacture on the premises. One day we were filling an order for a big Russian wedding; we sold a tremendous amount of diamonds. The entire staff stayed till 9 or 10 o’clock at night. I told everyone they could leave but nobody wanted to, they wanted to see the finished product. We ordered in dinner.

3. WHAT ACCOUNTS FOR THE DEDICATION OF YOUR EMPLOYEES? We treat everyone like royalty. So many of our employees say they could never work for anyone else. We go the extra mile and try to be accommodating; if someone needs Thanksgiving off, we’ll give them that time off. We’re involved in their lives. Everybody puts their heart and soul into the business. They give us their all. And it’s a two-way street.

4. WHY DON’T YOU PAY COMMISSION? We pay well and there’s no competition. They all become a team and help one another and become very well versed in all aspects of the store. There’s a friendly atmosphere when the customers walk in the door and they feel that. And if the customer has a small repair or they come in with a question, they get equal service because everyone wants to help.

5. HOW HAVE YOU DEALT WITH THE RECESSION? We held true to who we are. A few clients had given us large deposits and if they had anything change in their lives, we refunded their deposits. We vowed that no matter what, we would keep every employees on. We didn’t let anybody go. The strong will always survive.

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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Wilkerson Testimonials | Zadok Master Jewelers

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When Zadok Master Jewelers in Houston, Texas, decided to move to a new location (they’d been in the same one for the 45 years they’d been in business), they called Wilkerson to run a moving sale. The results, says seventh-generation jeweler Jonathan Zadok, were “off the charts” in terms of traffic and sales. Why? They took Wilkerson’s advice and stuck to the company’s marketing program, which included sign twirlers — something Jonathan Zadok had never used before. He says a number of very wealthy customers came in because of them. “They said, ‘I loved your sign twirlers and here’s my credit card for $20,000.’ There’s no way we could have done that on our own,” says Zadok. “Without Wilkerson, the sale never, ever would have come close to what it did.”

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