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David Squires

The Smartest Show We’ve Ever Done



The fifth annual SMART Jewelry Show Chicago is now officially a wrap. The show set a new attendance record, drawing almost 10% more visitors than our previous high. Overall, it was one of those years when just about everything seemed to go right.

Retailers had an almost universally positive reaction to three Martin Lindstrom sessions — his epic keynote on how to work your way into the mind and heart of the modern consumer, his reserved-seating only follow-up session called “If I Owned a Jewelry Store” (video coming soon to INSTOREMAG.COM) and the final question-and-answer session he did with a group of “America’s Coolest Stores”. (Yet another perk for our “Cool Store” winners. Have you entered this year’s contest yet? Our deadline is April 22. Enter here.


Overall, this year’s “Masters of Marketing” emphasis was a big draw, with the “Marketing Experience” in the back left-hand corner of the show packed out for almost every session. How will we top “Masters of Marketing” next year? Discussions are beginning right now.

Our revised Town Square layout, with the brand-new Smarty’s Bar and Cafe as the centerpiece at the back of the show got terrific reviews, and provided a central, highly visible meeting spot (and drinking spot) at the core of the show. My favorite touch? The little high-definition screen showing aquarium footage. Looked just like the real thing, and added the perfect dollop of atmsophere. Right next to Smarty’s was our show astrologer, Madame Zandra, who had customers all day, every day, throughout the show.


Additionally, our photo studio was a smash hit. We took pictures of almost 200 retailers, which you guys can use on your website and in your promotions, and which we can use when we write stories about you — which we are currently more likely to do because we now have your pictures. Win-win-win. (See a gallery of studio pictures below.)

Anyway, I just wanted to thank all of you who came and learned and shopped and had so much fun with us in Chicago. It was great seeing so many of you at the INSTORE booth. See you in Dallas this August 24 to 26 (with our pre-show education day on August 23), or if not there, in Chicago next April 5 to 7.

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Orin Mazzoni, Jr., the owner of Orin Jewelers in Garden City and Northville, Michigan, decided it was time to downsize. With two locations and an eye on the future, Mazzoni asked Wilkerson to take the lead on closing the Garden City store. Mazzoni met Wilkerson’s Rick Hayes some years back, he says, and once he made up his mind to consolidate, he and Hayes “set up a timeline” for the sale. Despite the pandemic, Mazzoni says the everything went smoothly. “Many days, we had lines of people waiting to get in,” he says, adding that Wilkerson’s professionalism made it all worthwhile. “Whenever you do an event like this, you think, ‘I’ve been doing this my whole life. Do I really need to pay someone to do it for me?’ But then I realized, these guys are the pros and we need to move forward with them.”

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