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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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Is It Your Time to Enjoy Life? Wilkerson Can Get You There.

Mary and Tim Whalen, owners of Crown Jewelers in Pittsfield, Mass., wanted to enjoy life beyond their business. When they decided to retire and close shop, they asked Wilkerson to handle the sale. As long-time Wilkerson customers, Mary says she knew the company could manage all the details of the liquidation. It was also great to have “fresh eyes” on their business, says Mary, which “worked tremendously for us.” Today, the Whalens are beginning a new adventure but are quick to commend Wilkerson for helping them get there. “You have one chance to get it right,” she says about their retirement sale. “Do it right.”

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