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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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Wilkerson Testimonials | Sollberger’s

Going Out of Business Is an Emotional Journey. Wilkerson Is There to Make It Easier.

Jaki Cowan, the owner of Sollberger’s in Ridgeland, MS, decided the time was right to close up shop. The experience, she says, was like going into the great unknown. There were so many questions about the way to handle the store’s going-out-of-business sale. Luckily for Cowan, Wilkerson made the transition easier and managed everything, from marketing to markdowns.

“They think of everything that you don’t have the time to think of,” she says of the Wilkerson team that was assigned to manage the sale. And it was a total success, with financial goals met by Christmas with another sale month left to go.

Wilkerson even had a plan to manage things while Covid-19 restrictions were still in place. This included limiting the number of shoppers, masking and taking temperatures upon entrance. “We did everything we could to make the staff and public feel as safe as possible.”

Does she recommend Wilkerson to other retailers thinking of retiring, liquidating or selling excess merchandise? Absolutely. “If you are considering going out of business, it’s obviously an emotional journey. But truly rest assured that you’re in good hands with Wilkerson.”

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