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Publisher’s Note: Chill Out with America ’s Coolest

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PUBLISHER’S NOTE

Chill Out with America ’s Coolest

Pour yourself an iced tea, settle into an easy chair and hang with our winners.

BY DAN KISCH
Published in the August 2013 issue

Welcome to the 12th annual Cool Stores issue of INSTORE. Like many of you, I rank this as my favorite issue of the year. Getting to know not only the beauty of a store but the heart and soul of a retail operation is what makes it so special. And this year, we have some remarkable new winners.

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Learning about the people who run the stores is the best part. This year our No. 1 Big Cool store owner is a former professional ice skater (who has broken a number of bones pursuing her other hobbies that include heli-skiing and mountain biking). Her toughness was a key factor in making the dream of her store build-out come true.

She has a lot in common with our No. 1 Small Cool store owner who still loves to skateboard, snowboard and waterski. Her philosophy, embodied by the statement “if you love something, don’t quit” is one that we should all strive to follow.

Geographically the stores cover the country, from Brooklyn, NY, to Bend, OR, and from Minneapolis, MN, to Savannah, GA. We actually have two winners from Oregon this year. Coupled with last year’s winner, Green Lake Jewelry Works from Seattle, WA, it’s clear the Pacific Northwest is keeping its cool streak alive.

But even though it’s the middle of the summer, the coolest area of the country is the south with Arkansas, Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina all graciously represented.

The average age of the companies in the list is 39 years. There is one surprisingly new store — Mora, which opened its doors in 2012. And then there is Levy Jewelers — a fourthgeneration, 113-year-old family business with a brand-new flagship store complete with roof garden. You’re never too young or too old to be a winner.

So settle down in that easy chair in your customer lounge and pour a large iced tea. You’ll want to get comfortable and spend an hour or two reading this one through (and taking careful notes). Who knows, next year might be your year to join the anointed Cool!

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Dan Kisch
[email protected]

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