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BIG COOL 3RD PLACE: Classic Creations | Toronto, Ontario

Labor of Love

Family enlists client — a world-renowned interior designer — to translate their brand into a physical space.

OWNERS: Ami, Shari, Jordan and Daniel Freiberg | URL: classiccreations.com | FOUNDED: 1984 | OPENED FEATURED LOCATION: 2018 | EMPLOYEES: 15 full-time, 2 part-time | AREA: 5,000 square feet (3,000 square-foot showroom) | SHOWCASES: Unique Store Fixtures | DESIGN FIRM: Cecconi Simone | TOP BRANDS: Classic Creations (in-house brand), Chanel, Montblanc, Baume & Mercier, Nomos | ONLINE PRESENCE: 8,978 Facebook likes; 15,700 Instagram followers, 4.9 stars on Google with 278 reviews


THE STORE doesn’t match the jewelry.” If owners Ami, Shari, Sam, Jordan and Daniel Freiberg heard these words once, they heard them a thousand times over Classic Creations’ first 34 years in business.

Since Ami, his wife, Shari, and his brother Sam opened Classic Creations in 1984, it had always resided in the same plaza, moving once in 2001 but staying essentially the same. (Ami and Shari’s sons, Jordan and Daniel, grew up in the business and are now part of the ownership team.)

“We had too much merchandise and everything shoved together,” admits Jordan. “I’m sure a lot of people who knew our reputation thought we would have a Bloor Street location [which is similar to Fifth Avenue in New York].” Instead, he says, customers were dismayed at the overcrowded, old-looking store.

Founders Ami and Sam Freiberg

But that all changed last October, when Classic Creations moved into a 5,000 square-foot space just off one of the main highways in Toronto. It’s been a successful move, although it took two-and-a-half years to construct the store of the Freibergs’ dreams.

For years, the family kept a collective eye out for the perfect location, when suddenly, good fortune struck. The City of Toronto decided to convert a subway parking lot into retail shops — something it had never tried before. The Freibergs saw the listing and jumped at the opportunity.

“It’s central, it’s off the highway, has plenty of parking, and is very accessible, whether you’re driving or taking public transit. And it’s across the highway from one of the largest malls in Canada,” Jordan says.

The location was a slam dunk, and the family’s good fortune continued when one of the store’s best clients — a world-renowned interior designer named Anna Simone — heard that the store was moving locations and asked why she was not being considered as its designer. “We thought it was a small project for her and we could never afford her,” says Jordan. “She does things all over the world — she does retail, she does condos. She knows our family, knows our merchandise and understands who we are.”

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The first thing that Simone told the Freibergs was that she was going to design a store that truly communicated its brand through the physical space. “She said that walking into our store without knowing us, you would never get who we are. She had only become a client based on a recommendation, but she said that honestly, if she hadn’t had that recommendation, she probably wouldn’t have come back,” says Jordan.

Simone’s vision was to incorporate a European flair while translating the store’s colors of black, gold and white into a modern space. Since the store sells materials found in nature, Simone wanted the store itself to be taken from nature as well.

Black wooden fixtures with gold trim pop against a luxurious backdrop of swirling marble walls and floors.

Clients are awestruck by the end result, says Jordan. “They’re in shock; they’re talking about how beautiful it is, how modern it is compared to our old location.”

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But it didn’t happen overnight. Perhaps Simone’s biggest job was navigating the family dynamic of ownership. “Unfortunately, because you have my mom, my brother, my dad, myself, we all had ideas, and sometimes it took longer than anticipated because we changed a lot of things,” says Jordan. “But in the end, she led the ship and showed us what she thought we should be, and we agreed. It may not be exactly what I pictured initially, but she put all of our craziness together and made it work.”

The primary debate between the Freibergs involved whether to include branded shop-in-shops in the store design or not; half the family wanted them, and half didn’t. Finally, they decided not to include shop-in-shops, but rather to feature all brands within the Classic Creations décor.

“We’re not a department store,” explains Jordan. “If a brand pulls out, you have a hole in your space. The Classic Creations brand has always been about us: it’s our jewelry, it’s our family, it’s our staff.”

The Freibergs also mulled over the cost of the project, and considered nixing the marble walls to save money. But then they saw the renderings without the marble, and it didn’t look as good. “We decided we would be here for a long time, and we put it back. We wanted people to have their jaws drop when they walk in,” Jordan says.

If the marble is spellbinding, so, too, are the showcases, which present product at various eye levels, including some that “float.” The idea, according to Simone, is to encourage customers to take their time, walk around and see all the different areas and product that the store has to offer. “At first, we were a little worried: are people really going to want to look down at jewelry? But the designer said, ‘Yes, your jewelry is so interesting, and you have to make people curious.’ And sure enough, people love the way it’s laid out,” Jordan says.

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At the end of the day, as Simone said, the jewelry has to be the focal point, and the Freibergs have always been proud to make most of the jewelry they sell on premises. Jordan explains, “I used to ask my dad why didn’t we carry this brand or that brand, and he would say, ‘Take a look at this piece compared to our piece. Here’s how much gold they use, here’s the diamonds, here’s what the piece should cost.’ His philosophy was always, ‘It’s not how you sell, it’s how you buy.’ If you buy right, you can sell it more affordably to your customers.”

As such, the Freibergs are able to control the quality of their jewelry — and Classic Creations distinguishes itself from the competition by having different jewelry that can’t be price-shopped.

The primary lesson learned throughout the process of building their dream store? “The store’s your store,” says Jordan. “Don’t let other people dictate who or what you are.”

Judges’ Comments

Benjamin Guttery: The social-media-worthy wall is an ingenious way to get content from their clients at the point of contact, now instead of later. Having a “lounge” from day one is also a smart way to have the customers spend time in the space doing other things than shopping. Lastly, the interior of this store feels like a museum gallery: sleek, modern, perfect for framing their custom work and fine brands in a luxurious way.

Elle Hill: The sleek interior is stunning. The atmosphere they create, the “family vibe” adds a homey touch to this very high-design interior!

Michael Roman: Sophisticated, sleek design. Having an Instagram wall in-store is a great idea.

Bob Phibbs: Loved the Champagne diamond giveaway idea and that customers had to come up to get it checked. Very smart.

Mark Tapper: This shop just looks rich! I love the use of the marble for not only the flooring, but on the walls as well. The gray veining is really dramatic and again just looks rich. I think it’s super-cool and fun that the team wear suits with sneakers, adding to the relaxed high-end vibe.

PHOTO GALLERY (17 IMAGES)

5 COOL THINGS ABOUT CLASSIC CREATIONS

1 Lovely lights. Jordan Freiberg had always wanted a chandelier in the store. But when he told store designer Anna Simone his idea, she said, “A chandelier is going to take attention away from the jewelry.” So instead, she designed two custom pieces that represent Classic Creations with conjoined Cs — and they also look like rings, which is what the store sells.

2 Suits and sneakers. Daniel Freiberg is a confessed “sneakerhead,” and he started wearing suits with sneakers at work. The look caught on, says his brother Jordan. “Clients recognize it and remember it. It’s defined who he is. And you know what? At the end of the day, it’s a fun occasion; people are getting engaged or coming in for happy things. You can’t be so serious. You don’t want to intimidate customers, especially given how our store looks.” That said, he does admit that “Dad hasn’t really caught on with it yet.”

3Instagram wall. The Freibergs decided that the store needed one feature wall where bridal clients could take pictures of their jewelry and send them to their friends or post to social media. It’s been popular so far, but Jordan says they plan to change the wall up eventually, adding different elements to represent each season of the year or in-store events.

4 Lounge for leisure. Classic Creations featured a store lounge before store lounges were cool. “Now it’s really trendy to have a lounge,” says Jordan, “But we do it because we’ve always been known for offering cappuccinos, espressos, desserts. People joke that we’re the most expensive café in town.” The Freibergs want clients to feel like family, he adds. But he jokes that at least one competitor may not appreciate the lounge: “We’re across from a Starbucks now; we joke that they might be upset because people always come for our coffee. If they start giving out jewelry for free, we might be in trouble!”

5 Designer handbags. In addition to jewelry, Classic Creations now offers designer handbags. It’s a strategic decision to compete with all types of luxury providers, says Jordan. “We want to be thought of for gifts. So if we can capture this category, why not?” He adds that it’s a category requested by customers in the past, and it makes sense for Classic Creations to carry handbags so clients don’t have to visit department stores. “We already have the relationships, we have profiles on our clients and we know what they like.”

Trace Shelton is the editor-in-chief of INSTORE magazine. He can be reached at trace@smartworkmedia.com.

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America's Coolest Stores

Portland, OR, Couple Fine-Tunes the No-Pressure Engagement Ring Sale

Website and window displays create perfect curb appeal.

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Malka Diamonds & Jewelry, Portland, OR

OWNERS: David and Ronnie Malka; URL: malkadiamonds.com ; FOUNDED: 2010; ARCHITECT AND DESIGN: One Hundred Agency and Bedford Brown Store; EMPLOYEES: 3 ; AREA: 1,000 square feet total; 700 square foot showroom; TOP BRANDS: Custom, vintage, Point No Point Studios, Vatche, Jolie Design; ONLINE PRESENCE: 1,645 Instagram followers, 957 Facebook followers, 4.9 Stars with 62 Google reviews; RENOVATED: 2018; BUILDOUT COST: $75,000; SHOWCASES:KDM


Ronnie and David Malka

VINTAGE RINGS DISPLAYED in authentic, retro jewelry boxes share space with newly minted engagement rings in the front window of Malka Diamonds & Jewelry, a boutique shop in the historic Hamilton building in the heart of downtown Portland.

Passersby enchanted by that tempting array are welcomed inside by owners David and Ronnie Malka, who offer guests a warm greeting and refreshments from the coffee shop across the hall.

Adding to the relaxed environment, they rarely ask for the prospective customer’s information right away. “Our customer is our friend. Just like you don’t ask someone you just met for all of their information, you really should try to take the same approach with your customers,” David says.

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Once guests have a chance to settle in and look around, graduate gemologist David loves to share what he knows by comparing loose diamonds at his desk. What makes the Malka experience distinctive is that David includes tricks of the trade in his consumer education, such as explaining what kind of diamonds people in the jewelry business might select for themselves.

“A lot of people who are thinking about buying diamonds online have done some research, and I like to educate them on the stuff you can see in a diamond that you should pay for,” David says. “The stuff you can’t see, why pay for it? Common sense goes a long way when you’re spending thousands of dollars. Great, if you want to buy a VVS stone, we have it, but most of the people who see the difference, or don’t see the difference, between D and F color are making a much more informed purchase, and they feel good about it.”

Large windows allow passersby to glimpse a mix of vintage and new rings on display while flooding the space with natural light.

They’re also adept at explaining the difference between the diamonds and their paperwork. “The cert says XYZ, but if you lined it up with five others, you might see why that stone was priced so low in its bracket,” Ronnie says.

They think it’s just fine if their customers walk out without buying anything on their first or second visit — even if they’re headed to the competition.

“We keep it really simple in here,” says Ronnie. “A lot of the guys who come in are buying something they don’t know anything about. We don’t bombard them with phone calls or emails; we just offer education. They continue to explore and research, and most of those people we see back here.”

The Malkas are taking the long view. “We want to be like their grandparents’ jewelers with a state-of-the-art shop so we can create things that are going to last,” Ronnie says. “Like the 1920s-era jewelers you trusted but still current and evolving with time.” Although engagement and wedding rings dominate their business now, with as much as 85 percent of sales, they believe that as their original customers continue to mature, they’ll eventually diversify into jewelry for other occasions.

By the time the customer does make a purchase or put a deposit down on a custom ring, David and Ronnie have developed a relationship with them. They give their customers a Malka hat, pin or T-shirt. They also give them a pamphlet detailing the history of their three-generation tradition of diamond dealers, and paperwork that includes an appraisal. There’s no paperwork involved with the guarantee; that is automatic for the life of the ring.

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As for that history, David’s father, Yossi Malka, who still has an office across the street from his son’s store, began his career as an apprentice under his great uncle in Israel, studied diamond cutting and later became a wholesale dealer in Portland.

David studied at the GIA, earned a graduate gemologist degree, and worked in a retail store for several years. David also ran his own jewelry appraisal lab, Independent Gemological Services, for the trade and private clients. “That’s a tough gig to be looking through the scope all day,” he says. “I was getting a little bit bored.”

Still, everyone thought he was crazy, he says, when he decided to open his own store. “It was the recession. It was a tough time.” Three major Portland jewelry stores had closed. “I figured if we took this plunge and we could stay afloat for two years, we should be able to weather anything,” he says. They’d been considering a variety of different names for the business when a friend offered this advice: “When you put your name on the door, you’re putting your name behind the business.”

Perfect. They had a name.

Ronnie Malka collects retro jewelry boxes to display vintage engagement rings.

They leased a prime 1,000-square-foot spot within a vacant 10,000 square-foot space. It was bare bones, with not much beyond walls and floors.

“Welcome to the world of retail,” David says he remembered thinking. Traffic was thin at first, and David continued to operate the appraisal lab, taking it month by month. Although changing shopping habits of American consumers had seemed to be a bad omen, it turned out that Portland shoppers who did spend money on jewelry wanted to make sure they were investing in local, independent businesses. Within a couple of years, they’d won Oregon Bride Magazine’s “Best Rings of 2012” award.

In 2013 Malka became the official fine jewelers of the University of Oregon and their shop got very busy. Ronnie left her teaching job to join Malka full time after it became clear David needed help with marketing and events.

In 2018, they expanded the shop and fine-tuned their interior design, adding metallic cork wallpaper, a custom woven rug, a gathering area with a modern, round table and gray leather chairs, and custom-built display cases. The counter now boasts a marble top and black paint. Other additions include a gold light fixture and a trio of geometric mirrors. The look is upscale without feeling stuffy. The decor is also a personal reflection of what makes David and Ronnie comfortable, complete with a prominently displayed black and white wedding photo of the couple.

“Ninety-nine percent of the time, you meet a Malka,” Ronnie says. “We want them to know us as we want to know them.”

VIDEO: MALKA STORE TOUR

VIDEO: MALKA “ABOUT US”

VIDEO: MALKA CUSTOM DIAMONDS


PHOTO GALLERY (30 IMAGES)

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Five Cool Things About Malka Diamonds & Jewelry

1. Salt-and-pepper diamonds. A year ago, Malka started showcasing the work of a Seattle designer, Point No Point Studios, which has a strong Instagram presence and specializes in salt-and-pepper diamond rings. “We knew that going out-of-the-box and trying something new would potentially bring new traffic,” says Ronnie, who gets several inquiries about them every week. David, as the son of a diamond dealer, admits he was reluctant at first to move in that direction. “My dad says, ‘How much is that per carat?!’ Ten years ago, it would have been used for drill bits, but now there’s an actual marketplace for it. I don’t think it’s a fad, either,” David says.

2. Collaborative environment. “We all know the projects, what’s going on, and what’s coming up,” Ronnie says. “It doesn’t feel compartmentalized.” That approach also creates opportunity for growth. Chloe, who works in the showroom, says Malka has the friendliest atmosphere of anywhere she has worked, as well as enormous growth potential and pride in values. “It gives me satisfaction learning-wise and experience-wise, knowing what the jewelers have to do to have a certain outcome for whatever kind of piece we’re making,” she says.

3. Custom connection. A 2018 expansion made room for two full-time master jewelers and more equipment in the shop. “We wanted everything done under our roof,” David says, from design to manufacture. Sometimes they are simply consultants: “An architect is doing his own CAD design for us to look at and make sure it’s going to translate into a ring and not a building,” Ronnie says.

4. Website curb appeal. Ronnie considers Malka’s digital presence, including its website, to be online curb appeal. “People want to engage online first,” Ronnie says. “Maybe 10 or 15 years ago, your website was a placeholder for your contact info, but now it tells your story.” People know what to expect.

5. Digital marketing ROI. Digital marketing has for the most part replaced traditional radio and TV, because as Ronnie says, “Our customer is online and if they’re seriously looking for a ring, they are seriously looking — not seeing it on TV. Many jewelers will say this is a waste of time, but in the last six months when our followers have doubled, we have noticed customers referring to an image they saw on Instagram or Facebook. It is a real relief to see the return on investment on the time spent taking photos and creating tag lines.” Even shop dog Toby has his own Instagram handle!

JUDGES’ COMMENTS
  • Julie Ettinger: This store is a real gem! I love the shop-local feel and that it can all be done in house. I also appreciate the mix of vintage and new.
  • Julie Gotz: I love that the owners are so invested in the customer and their life cycle. Many stores are too focused on the sale and not enough on the relationship. It is great to hear that a store is using social media in such a successful way.
  • Joel Hassler: I like the approach to gathering customer information. Building a relationship is more important than data-mining.
  • Barbara Ross-Innamorati: : The store interior is exquisite and feels upscale but also warm and inviting. The website is quite informative and I love their blog, “Stories,” as it features a lot of interesting topics with gorgeous photography.
  • Hedda Schupak: I like the laser focus on diamond rings, and I love the impressive depth of selection they have, especially nontraditional styles. The store itself is very hip and welcoming. Their online presence is very strong; they’re using all social media quite well.
  • Eric Zimmerman: Malka Diamonds has done a wonderful job of creating a modern elegant boutique while still highlighting the building’s historic features. Their store’s design tells a story that complements the products they showcase: modern and antique.
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America's Coolest Stores

Regional Family-Owned Jewelry Company Expands Presence in New Hampshire

Bold, new store in Nashua embraces the future.

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Day’s Jewelers, Nashua, NH

OWNERS: Jeff & Kathy Corey; URL:daysjewelers.com; FOUNDED: 1914; OPENED FEATURED LOCATION: 2018; ARCHITECT AND DESIGN FIRMS: Ron Gay, YCC Jewelry Store Designs; Fulcrum, Ouellet Construction and Guy Labrecque Jr., architect from CWS; EMPLOYEES: 130 total; 13 in this location ; AREA: 6,000 square feet total; 5,000-square-foot showroom; TOP BRANDS: Forevermark, Martin Flyer, Gabriel & Co., Frieda Rothman; TOTAL NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 8; BUILDOUT COST: $1.4 million


ON JEFF COREY’S FIRST date with future wife Kathy, the couple not only talked about getting married and having kids, they also dreamed of opening a jewelry store together. “Why not multiple jewelry stores?” they mused. The possibilities opened up before them.

“It’s always been our vision to provide opportunities to others,” Kathy says. “Having multiple locations has always been our vision, right from the start.”

Years later, they were operating one store — Jeffrey’s Fine Jewelers in Waterfield, ME — when they received a serendipitous phone call.

At one time, Day’s was the largest jewelry retailer in New England with 22 stores, but by the time the owners, brothers David and Sidney Davidson, were in their 80s and ready to retire, they could not find a buyer to sell the company intact. They were forced to sell their legacy piecemeal for the value of the real estate.

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When they had just one remaining store, the brothers called the Coreys. The Davidsons had known Jeff’s dad, who got his start with Day’s. “He said my brother and I want to retire, but don’t want to see the name Day’s die,” Jeff recalls.

“We’d like you to buy the company from us and revive Day’s.”

What could have been the end for Day’s turned into a new beginning. The Coreys did buy the last Day’s. Soon there were two Day’s locations when they changed the name of Jeffrey’s Fine Jewelers to Day’s and began rebuilding the brand. Now there are eight.

The grand opening of Day’s Jewelers in Nashua, NH, celebrated the beginning of a new era for the Coreys. It is the first store they built from the ground up.

The Nashua Chapter

The Coreys built their first New Hampshire store in Manchester in 2003, but knew that in order to have a strong presence in that state, they’d need another location. So when the Nashua location became available in a desirable, high-traffic area, they were beyond ready. This buildout would be their first from the ground up, giving them a chance to modernize their look and branding.

“We were looking for a store that was more engaging, that allowed the comfort and freedom to walk around without shoppers feeling they were being observed or pressured to buy,” Kathy says.

A circular design sets the stage for a natural traffic flow that draws shoppers throughout the space while maximizing linear display space. The two-story entryway has a glass wall along its curved exterior, creating space for advertising display opportunities both inside and out, and establishing an interior theme that carries through to casework and ceiling. The circular design creates an open lounge area in the center for customers to settle in, enjoy a beverage and watch TV, creating the feeling they had walked into a home.

Black brick around the building’s perimeter establishes a solid base for the lighter exterior finish system above. The finishes selected for the window systems, canopy and awnings are a play on metal work and fabrication. The exterior is a modern interpretation of traditional detailing and material use while maintaining strict regulations for energy conservation and sustainable design practices. As with the exterior, materials selected for the interior represent the display of fine jewelry in a modern, sleek, but accessible fashion.

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Kathy considers the Forevermark bridal enclave to be the crown jewel of the store with its custom-built benches and furniture, as well as the story of Forevermark playing on a continuous loop.

The Virtual Diamond Boutique allows shoppers to view and virtually try on exceptional loose diamonds, most of which can be ordered for viewing in store the next day.

Standing the Test of Time

From the beginning, Kathy and Jeff were determined to have a long-range vision. “We’ve resisted the temptation to hold sales, for one example,” Kathy says. “ It’s a matter of integrity — and of doing things for the long term.”

Day’s point of differentiation in its markets is partly a result of the size of its stores, which are all between 5,000 and 10,000 square feet. “The selection we offer our customers is hugely more vast than other stores,” Kathy says. “We also pride ourselves on services, engraving, goldsmith, pearl stringing, appraisals, gemologists, and ear piercing. We do hundreds of ear piercings a year. We do all of this with that hometown comfortable feel without being perceived as a big box.”

Day’s is one of five independent retail jewelers to be certified by the Responsible Jewelry Council as the result of a third-party audit. “RJC has given us an opportunity to evaluate long-term structural, strategic initiatives that help businesses survive the times.”

In maintaining the company’s family jeweler tradition, Jeff and Kathy’s son Joe, along with two nephews, have begun to assume leadership roles in the company.

Their long-term view also means they take time to hire and then invest in employee growth. Their 25-page hiring handbook is informed by experts in the field, including Kate Peterson and Peter Smith. “We clearly define skills, experiences and talents that are necessary to succeed at a particular job. We use screening tools to determine if a candidate fits the profile.”

They ensure that every new hire feels a sense of empowerment and has the knowledge and education to make independent decisions in the best interest of the company and customers. “We want our employees to feel that this is a career, not just a job,” Jeff says. “They have to feel like they’re learning and growing all the time. So we invest in training and career advancement, including college courses.”

Everyone learns that the customer is the boss. “If you ask any one of our 130 employees, they will tell you that,” Jeff says. “Google reviews and Facebook reviews tell that story quite clearly.”

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They also work hard to find good leaders and facilitate strong communication. It’s working: a statewide survey has deemed Day’s one of the best places to work in Maine based on employee responses to questions about company culture, leadership, their level of satisfaction and a variety of HR-related criteria.

Ensuring employee satisfaction ultimately leads to customer satisfaction.

At the Nashua store, buying jewelry is absolutely fun, the Coreys say, thanks to their enthusiastic team. “They bring an energy to buying jewelry that is like none other,” they say. “Bring your dog to Day’s, bring your baby, have a beer, kick your feet up, relax. You’ll become part of our family the minute you walk into our store.”

PHOTO GALLERY (8 IMAGES)

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Five Cool Things About Day’s Jewelers

1. The Bridal Box. Whenever Day’s sells a diamond engagement ring, the engaged couple receives a large gift-wrapped box that includes a bottle of champagne, a jewelry gift, promotions for wedding rings and bridal attendant gifts, toasting flutes and a certificate for a free engraved cake knife. Day’s has partnered with a local photographer, formalwear provider, and other bridal-related businesses; each includes a gift or coupon in the box.

2. Core values. Stationed high above the entrance on the copper trim at the building’s pinnacle is the company’s signature emblem, each point of which represents one of Day’s Jewelers four core differentiating values that have guided the company for more than 100 years. “Value: We promise to always provide the best value to our customersin our goods and services. Opportunity: We promise to provide everyone with the opportunity to own and enjoy fine jewelry. Trust: We promise to always do business in an environment of trust and transparency. Sentiment: We believe the true value of a piece of jewelry is not in how much it costs, but what it means to the person who wears it.”

3. Enchanting the children. A graphics product called Visual Magnetics adds interactive scenery to the children’s play area. Magnetic paint is applied under the store’s color paint, turning its walls into magnets. Then thin, high-resolution images can be rolled directly onto the wall. The first layer is a colorful, under-the-sea background. The second layer is cut-outs of sea life that children can move around to create their own customized seascape.

4. The media mix. “I find marketing to be very exciting today,” Jeff says. “It’s so much easier to hypter-target the market with the proper message.” While social media has become a very important part of the ad mix, Day’s has found value in everything from TV and radio to cinema ads and airport billboards. Even newspaper advertising has its place as a way to reach the over 50, more affluent demographic. Having a team of eight people on staff in the marketing department, including graphic designers, a videographer/photographer and a copywriter allows most of the work to be done in house.

5. Philanthropy. In 2014, to celebrate 100 years in business, Day’s set a goal of raising $100,000 for Jewelers for Children. Day’s 138 employees were invited to participate voluntarily, primarily through weekly payroll deduction. With generous contributions and hard work from employees, customers and suppliers, the firm contributed $102,000 to JFC in January 2015.

JUDGES’ COMMENTS
  • Benjamin Guttery: This jeweler exemplifies that the entire family is welcome at their store, from kiddos to Corgis. The second floor window really shines to passersby and is a recognizable feature of the community as well as an advertising display opportunity.
  • Elle Hill: The store is fresh, clean and bright, allowing the customer to bathe in warm natural sunlight. Engaging with the community and touches such as the Bridal Box are important ways of fitting in and standing out.
  • Bob Phibbs: The kids’ section is inspired. I’ve never encountered anything like that to keep kids occupied.
  • Michael Roman: Exquisite showroom! Unique space for small children. Strong core values are evident in the stores’ success. Well-done YouTube video. It gives the shopper a feeling about what their experience will be like if they visit Day’s.
  • Mark Tapper: The interior of the Nashua store is cool, modern and beautiful. I love the sleek lines and rounded cases. The showroom appears to be flowing with natural light. The Forevermark boutique has a great presence.
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America's Coolest Stores

America’s Coolest Stores 2019 – Winners Revealed!

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Check out America’s Coolest Jewelry Stores of 2019!

Congratulations to the winners of the 18th annual America’s Coolest Stores Contest! In the following pages — and in the months ahead — discover why these stores earned the stamp of approval from our judges. As in past years, we divided the entries into two categories — Big Cool (six or more full-time employees) and Small Cool (five or fewer). We asked two six-member teams of judges to evaluate stores based on their back story, interior, exterior, marketing, online presence and what we here at INSTORE believe is the most important intangible: individuality.

Our six America’s Coolest and additional 10 Cool Stores — each of which will be featured in INSTORE issues through June 2019 — represent creative approaches to doing business as well as aesthetically pleasing retail environments. Each of the six winning stores also offers an omni-channel shopping experience, with merchandise available for purchase online.

If you haven’t taken the time to enter yet, why not give it a shot in January 2020? Retailers have told us that the entry process alone can be inspiring and motivating because it requires them to assess all aspects of their businesses. And if you entered and weren’t chosen this time, fine-tune your entry and try again. That’s proven to be a winning strategy.

Check out America’s Coolest
Jewelry Stores of 2019!

Congratulations to the winners of the 18th annual America’s Coolest Stores Contest! In the following pages — and in the months ahead — discover why these stores earned the stamp of approval from our judges. As in past years, we divided the entries into two categories — Big Cool (six or more full-time employees) and Small Cool (five or fewer). We asked two six-member teams of judges to evaluate stores based on their back story, interior, exterior, marketing, online presence and what we here at INSTORE believe is the most important intangible: individuality.

Our six America’s Coolest and additional 10 Cool Stores — each of which will be featured in INSTORE issues through June 2019 — represent creative approaches to doing business as well as aesthetically pleasing retail environments. Each of the six winning stores also offers an omni-channel shopping experience, with merchandise available for purchase online.

If you haven’t taken the time to enter yet, why not give it a shot in January 2020? Retailers have told us that the entry process alone can be inspiring and motivating because it requires them to assess all aspects of their businesses. And if you entered and weren’t chosen this time, fine-tune your entry and try again. That’s proven to be a winning strategy.

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