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Turgeon-Raine Jewellers

In search of Americaʼs most unique jewelry retail businesses...




Turgeon-Raine Jewellers; Co. Jewelers, Seattle, WA

OWNERS: Norman Turgeon and Jerry Raine; ADDRESS: 1407 Fifth Avenue Seattle, WA 98104; PHONE: (206) 447-9488

BUSINESS PARTNERS for more than 22 years, Norman Turgeon and Jerry Raine are an eclectic duo — Jerry is an avid windsurfer and kite sailor and Norman plays harmonica in a blues band. When moving to their latest location after 10 years at their former one, they had but one goal: to create a store that would serve and enhance the high-quality jewelry they sell, rather than the other way around. Turgeon and Raine spoke to Instore about the final result:

Describe the interior of the store.

The sales floor and lower shop-office area measure approximately 4,000 square/feet each, so itʼs a very spacious sales floor with a lot of space downstairs. Itʼs also a very well-lit store with lots of lighting housed in high multi-level suspended and dropped ceilings, which add to the spacious feel of the store. The custom wool carpet has alternating bands of beige and soft brown that go well with the storeʼs overall color scheme. And the display cases and wall cases are positioned to help control how foot traffic moves in the store. Everything is about showcasing our collection of superfine gems and jewelry and making the clientʼs visual experience exciting. We also have three bullpens as well as leather surfaced sit down areas. Our sit-downs have computers to allow the sales staff to e-mail clients. Weʼre located in Seattle, the computer capital of the world, and many of our customers prefer emails over phone calls. If an email is sent we usually get immediate response. If we make a phone call and leave a message, we may never hear back.


Most unique features?

One of the most exciting features of the store is a very dramatic, sweeping wall at the entry that draws you into the space. This feature was designed by our architect and artistically textured in plaster by a well-known artist and friend from Southern France, Francois Pascal, who also created many other unusual plaster features in the store. Our showcases are very different, too. The glass surface is 42 inches from the floor and only 8 inches deep which allows the customer to look at the jewelry and gems without hunching over. The 22 shadow-box wall cases, which display goods by category, are accessible to customers from walkways between the display cases on the sales floor and the wall.

Who did your design?

How closely did you worK? The company chosen was SKB, a young successful design firm under the direction of Kyle Gaffney — whose staff worked very closely with us and had great input . We had very demanding lighting and display case requirements. We selected the firm because they were savvy, but had no previous retail experience, so they didnʼt come to us with all the same old ideas and baggage that restrict the creative process. They were receptive to our input without the usual ego problems getting in the way. The first design was too expensive, so we scrapped the initial concept and they came up with a second store design that was not only more affordable, but much better-looking. During the creative design process and construction phases weekly brainstorming sessions were held with the architectural team.

Any specific requirements when it came to converting the building into a jewelry store?

It was a nightmare! The store had to be completely gutted and built from scratch. During the gutting phases there were asbestos and old construction debris problems. At least with an empty space we had control over where all the basics went, as we had to put in all new plumbing, air-conditioning and electrical.


How much did it cost to adapt the building?

Gutting the building was $150,000 and the design and construction work totaled $3.5 million. In our opinion, we have one of the best-looking and workable stores in the country. We traveled to many major cities in the US and Europe in the year prior to construction to see what else had been done. We did the research to both avoid making mistakes and to get new ideas.

How do people usually react to the store?

Customers, seasoned travelers, sales and manufacturer reps alike are all simply blown away when they see the store. People love the storeʼs layout and ambiance, but best of all they like the way the jewelry is displayed. The jewelry, after all, is why we are here.

Does your store design help sales?

Itʼs hard to say as we built and then opened the store in the lowest part of the recession and the slow recovery. But business has been strong in one of the hardest-hit economies in the country, due to the demise of so many Northwest-based dot-com companies. Over the next five years, weʼll know just how much the new store design will impact sales.

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

Weʼre a $10 million a year store. We wanted to create a store consistent with the modern, high-quality type of jewelry we sell. Everything we did in creating this shop is geared towards selling jewelry, rather than following the conventions of interior design. The jewelry and showcasing it are the most important features of the store — the rest is simply adding elegance and beauty to the surroundings.


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