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David Squires

Editor’s Note: Now This Is Cool

Big or small, these America’s Coolest Stores contest winners have stories to learn from.

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WELCOME TO INSTORE’S eighth annual edition of America’s Coolest Stores. It’s also our second year with individual categories for Big Cool (six or more employees) and Small Cool (five or fewer employees).

No matter what kind of store you are today, or what kind of store you aspire to be tomorrow, we’re confident that you’ll find something in every winner’s story to inspire you.

Take our Big Cool winner — London Jewelers of Manhasset, NY. From all outward appearances, this is an ultra-elite store — with in-store boutiques for the most exclusive designers, as well as advertising in high-end magazines like Town & Country and Robb Report. But this is a success story that was anything but easy. You’ll learn how the store was once a weekend away from being sold. Or how, in the 1970s, the then small mom-and-pop store spent two years trying to convince Rolex that London Jewelers was worthy of carrying its line.

Our Small Cool winner — Zoltan David of Austin, TX — has an equally fascinating story. A renowned jewelry designer, David decided to open his own retail front so he could maintain a connection with customers. Instead of doing it in Manhattan or Los Angeles, he did it in Austin, TX. And instead of opening a typical retail front he opened a space that’s actually more art gallery than jewelry store. Little product, lots of space, and tons and tons of wood. It’s a store that, if you go in once, you won’t forget.

Thanks to all 106 stores that competed. And thanks to the judges who shared their valuable time to help us once again uncover the country’s most exciting jewelers.

 

Wishing you the very best business

 

David Squires

dsquires@instoremag.com

 

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SPONSORED VIDEO

She Wanted to Spend More Time with Her Kids. She Called Wilkerson.

Your children are precious. More precious than gold? Absolutely! Just ask Lesley Ann Davis, owner of Lesley Ann Jewels, an independent jewelry store that — until the end of 2023 — had quite a following in Houston, Texas. To spend more time with her four sons, all in high school, she decided to close her store. Luckily, she was familiar with Wilkerson and called them as soon as she knew she wanted to move on to bigger, better and more family-focused things. Was she happy with her decision? Yes, she was. Says Davis, “Any owner looking to make that life change, looking to retire, looking to close, looking for a pause in their career, I would recommend Wilkerson. Hands down!”

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