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This Jeweler Explains Why Entering the America’s Coolest Stores Contest is Its Own Reward




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If you read the America’s Coolest Stores article on our store, it makes a good case that we deserve to be one of the “Cool Kids,” but the very Coolest thing that happened this year was the entry process itself. I won’t lie: the process is daunting, but it can change your business.

We met INSTORE managing editor Eileen McClelland at the Tucson Gem Show. We told her we enjoyed the America’s Coolest Stores features. She said, “You should enter.” We exchanged business cards and forgot about it. We got the entry form in an email a week or so later.

We design jewelry but have also been designing a business, piece by piece for 40 years. When we started looking at all those efforts through the perspective of the entry, we realized we might have acquired a degree of Coolness. As we tried to convince INSTORE that we were Cool, we began to believe it ourselves. Entering the contest crystalized the realization that no matter what we have done in the past, it is the future that has always pulled us along.

The attitude shift started a few years ago when we decided that, if we were going to keep designing jewelry, it should probably be in CAD. Last year, we bought a 3-D printer in Las Vegas. One of the Cool Stores judging criteria was “online presence.” Except for a 3-year-old website, we didn’t have one. We do now, and we did it our way. Our store had been lighted with fluorescent and MR16 Chromalux lighting, which was state of the art — in 1983. We are now 100 percent specialty LED.

Enter the contest. If you realize part way through that you aren’t all that cool, you will change that. You can’t go back to being apathetic. We decided that, whether we became one of the Class of 2017 or not, we would be much cooler at the end of 2017. That has turned out to be more important than the recognition. It is Cool when things happen that way.


Robert Hallett  and his wife and business partner, Kyle Kotchey, own Robert Hallett-Goldsmith in Oakmont, PA. Their Cool Store was featured in the October 2017 issue of INSTORE. Enter the America’s Coolest Stores contest at

This article originally appeared in the January 2018 edition of INSTORE.

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