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Sami Fine Jewelry

In search of Americaʼs most unique jewelry retail businesses.




Sami Fine Jewelry, Fountain Hills, AZ

OWNERS: Sami Fine Jewelry; ADDRESS: 16704 Avenue of the Fountains; Fountain Hills, AZ 85268; OPENED: Relocated to Fountain Hills is 1986, opened new store in Fall 2001; EST. PROPERTY VALUE: $1.2 million; STORE AREA: 3,400 sq. ft; PHONE: (480) 837-8168; FAX: (480) 837-7264

FOR SAMI JACK, a Rocky Mountain high simply canʼt match the intensity of a Four Peaks Mountain buzz. The talented jewelry designer got her start in 1981 when she opened her first store, Samiʼs Gold. In 1986, Jack relocated to Fountain Hills, AZ, where she began selling jewelry in the corner of a small flower shop. As her client base blossomed, Jack knew she would need her own store — and dreamed of one that would pay homage to the Arizona Four Peaks Mountain amethyst, which has inspired many of Jackʼs jewelry designs. In the fall of 2001, Jack became co-owner of a free-standing building and broke ground in an effort to bring her Four Peaks Mountain vision to life. The centerpiece of her store is a 40ʼ x 20ʼ mural that depicts the mountain range she loves. With the mountain theme and Jackʼs amethyst designs, purple was the obvious choice of color for a store that has established a distinctive architectural presence in this Arizona town of 22,000 people.

How long have you been at this address? How did you find out about it?

Stephenie Bjorkman, daughter of the storeowner and store manager, who has worked with her mother for more than six years, said: “My mother and her business partners, Mike and Nancy Nabers, purchased the property in 2001. We broke ground on the project a month after the 9/11 attacks. The site was chosen as itʼs a strategic location where most people see the building every day. Itʼs a very unique store that is helping to redefine downtown Fountain Hillsʼ architecture.”


What would you say is the most unique feature of the store?

“That would have to be the mural of the Four Peaks Mountains,” Bjorkman says. “The whole project took about two weeks to paint. We hired a local artist, Vanessa Davisson, to paint it. Itʼs a huge mural that starts at the front door. It goes two floors high and extends nearly to the back of the store. She took a real panoramic view of the Four Peaks Mountain range and had it transferred on to a transparency. Then she projected the transparency on the wall and drew the basic outline and topographical features of the Four Peak Mountain range. Then she filled in the details to create a mural that has sunset-like qualities with a blend of light pink, beige and purple. It has a 3-D effect to it.”

Describe the interior of the store.

“The exterior of the building is a rock called cultured stones,” says Bjorkman. “The look is brought in to the store to accentuate certain areas like the display cases, which are also designed in the shape of the Four Peaks Mountain. The store has a tile floor that was a custom job made of different tile sizes of mainly earth tone colors. The walls are your basic knock-down textured wall. The mural dominates the store on the first level and second level. As it starts at the front door and goes as high as the second floor where we have giftware items for sale, a repair take-in area for watches where we have an engraving machine and a watch repair shop, the lunch room and some office space. Cultured stone materials and bricks were used to frame and accentuate jewelry display cases which are mainly done in pine wood with a clear finish that gives the store a rustic quality by showing the woodʼs grain patterns.”


How much did it cost to adapt the building? Was it worth it?

“Our half of the building is valued at $1.2 million,” says Bjorkman. “[The cost of the build-out] was a substantial investment for my mother. Yes, it was worth it as the store is my motherʼs lifelong dream realized.”

How do people usually react to the store?

“The mural usually gets the ʻwowʼ reaction,” says Bjorkman. “When we opened, people came in just to see the mural. But, after seeing the mural, customers then settle into the store and appreciate its openness and elegance, which makes for a comfortable jewelry shopping experience. Shortly after the store opened, it was considered the most beautiful building in town. A local magazine did an article on our grand opening.”

What do you like most about the store? And least?

“My mother likes the mural the most, but for me I like our repair/take-in desk the most,” says Bjorkman. “Itʼs like a ʻrepair barʼ. The only issue I have with the store, and we didnʼt realize this until we opened, we use the ʻrepair barʼ so much that the other two sit-down areas are forgotten (they are at the front of the store). The ʻrepair barʼ is where everyone wants to be. Customers all want to sit at the ʻrepair barʼ. If I could change anything, I would have made more sit-down areas near the ʻrepair barʼ.”

How does the design of the store fit in with the jewelry you sell?

“My mother passionately promotes the Four Peaks amethyst,” says Bjorkman. “So everything in the store is purple from the mural to our bags.”




This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

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