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North Dakota Jewelry Store Takes Shape Around Classic-Film Motif

Zorells aims to “spoil their clients rotten.”





Q&A with Tim Ell

How did you achieve your dream of a Hollywood glam store in North Dakota?

When we did the initial interviews with Leslie McGwire, I told her about the Hollywood glam and wanted her to watch a couple of old movies. Then I asked her to imagine what Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers would look like as a jewelry store. We have custom-made chandeliers that look like a waterfall of diamonds. The light of the chandeliers dances off the marble floors like it’s a ballroom. The wallpapers were selected to look like gowns from the red carpet, glittery, almost like fabric. We have large black and white portraits of some of our favorite actors and actresses framed in black and gold. It turned out really sexy. It looks beautiful.

How different is this store for North Dakota?

The vision was to give our community something that they would normally have to travel to or go on vacation to experience. We don’t even have major department stores. There’s no real shopping experience in North Dakota because we’re so isolated. We wanted to spoil them rotten. It’s been very well received. That’s the magic behind it, the wedding bell tower, the Wine and Shine Bar, the free wine and mimosas. Saturday has become mimosa day. Everything is about giving them that pampered vacation experience that takes them away from reality for a few moments. They do talk about it and word of mouth is powerful. That’s certainly helped us grow.

What do you and Sharon like to do when you have time off?

When we’re not working, we like to drive our classic cars around, we travel to car shows. Our love for classic movies evolved together. We always watch IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE together at Christmas. We started watching Turner Classic Movies as our date nights on the weekends. In 2011 we started traveling to the classic film festival in Hollywood. Now it’s something we never miss. My wife enjoys shopping for retro outfits. Since we take annual trips to the film festival in Hollywood, she has her favorite retro dress shops we visit every year. We like the old stuff, old cars, old style, classic films and retro style of the clothing.

What have you done to encourage engagements recently?

There’s been a pent-up demand for travel and for weddings. Any couple that spends over $4,000 for an engagement ring gets a trip for two to Cancun. We drive most of our events around bridal, and a whole lot of people in central North Dakota are getting engaged because they want to go to Cancun. I bought the vacation packages many dozens at a time. We launched it in January and we now have about 80 couples going to Cancun in two and a half months.

What are your primary roles in the business?

I’m mostly on the marketing side of the business and Sharon has a strong background in bookkeeping and accounting. We both do some sales.

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Time to Do What You've Always Wanted? Time to Call Wilkerson.

It was time. Teri Allen and her brother, Nick Pavlich, Jr., had been at the helm of Dearborn Jewelers of Plymouth in Plymouth, Mich., for decades. Their father, Nick Pavlich, Sr., had founded the store in 1950, but after so many wonderful years helping families around Michigan celebrate their most important moments, it was time to get some “moments” of their own. Teri says Wilkerson was the logical choice to run their retirement sale. “They’re the only company that specializes in closing jewelry stores,” she says. During the sale, Teri says a highlight was seeing so many generations of customers who wanted to buy “that one last piece of jewelry from us.” Would she recommend Wilkerson? Absolutely. “There is no way that I would have been able to do this by myself.”

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