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What Makes A Store Cool? Jewelers Weigh In

Our Brain Squad describes what “cool retail” is for them.




Question: When you visit a “cool store” that’s not your own, what makes it “cool” in your eyes?

  • Open space, ambience, lighting, music. It all sets a mood that you just feel. — Alan Goodheart, Goodheart’s Jewelry, Overland Park, KS
  • Unique lighting, decor, music, smell, activity and lots of other customers, repair shop visible, food and drinks. In other words, a store that appeals to all senses and seems very exciting. — James Gattas, James Gattas Jewelers, Memphis, TN
  • What makes a store a cool store are the people who work there. If they are blah and bored, it doesn’t matter how cool the atmosphere is … I won’t be back. If your staff is lively and full of color well then, Take all my money! — Morgan Bartel, Susann’s Custom Jewelers, Corpus Christi, TX
  • A personalized experience. I like to buy where a) they know me, and b) they know my style preference and style the shopping experience to me. — Sandra Locken, Sarini Fine Jewellery, Vulcan, AB
  • Usually the music and the ambience “match.” A retro look with funky music, or Sinatra playing in a speak-easy style restaurant. — Beth Cevasco, Scott’s Custom Jewelers, Fairlawn, OH
  • Interesting merchandise displayed in interesting ways. Inviting and friendly with engaging people to help you. — Laurie Langdon-Gerber, Elisa Ilana Jewelry, Omaha, NE
  • Originality, uniqueness and the space being personable. I am tired of cookie cutter stores. I like to see the reflection of a person’s inner self related back into whatever they are doing or selling. — Kirsten Reynolds, Windsor Gallery, Salisbury, NC
  • When they look pretty inside! I also love quirky things like art installations, murals, or something interactive for clients like writing something on a wall, photo op, interesting signs for clients to read out loud as they pass by, etc. — Julie Terwilliger, Wexford Jewelers, Cadillac, MI
  • Usually, a clean store with thoughtful displays does it for me. Old, dirty, and stuffing cases with too much is a distraction. — Steven B. Goldfarb, Alvin Goldfarb Jeweler, Bellevue, WA
  • Lord spare me from spartan stores with everything secreted away until specifically asked for. Give me a shop brimming with goods where I can browse unmolested to find exactly what I think I need. — James Doggett, Doggett Jewelry, Kingston, NH
  • I think that any store I visit that has trained its staff to not say “Can I help you” is cool. My wife and I were in a regional mall recently. We went into 14 stores. In 12 of them, we were greeted with “Can I help you?” Ugh! And two were jewelry stores. Shane Decker would have had a conniption fit! — J. Dennis Petimezas, Watchmakers Diamonds & Jewelry, Johnstown, PA
  • Don’t really care about the looks, but the service is what makes it for me. — John Anthony, Jr., John Anthony Jewelers, Bala-Cynwyd, PA
  • Well thought out. Clean, bright, organized. Or a treasure hunt. Either way, the store needs to have a theme or a consistent vibe in its products and services. I have no use for a dog in sunglasses. — Alan Lindsay, Henry’s, Cape May, NJ
  • Stores that stand out to me are those that don’t necessarily look or feel like the traditional jewelry store. It would seem that millennials like this as well. I’m always visiting stores that offer new technologies in serving their clients and seeing how I might also integrate their ideas into my own operation. — Bill Warren, The Gold Mine, Hudson, NC
  • I think how I am greeted and treated when I walk into a retail store makes it cool. If I am ignored when I walk in, I will leave. If the greeter or associate is fun and enthusiastic, they make the experience cool. Once while on vacation, I was in a very nice steakhouse where I was given a tour by my waiter, then I was allowed to pick my steak and watch the chef cook it in the kitchen. I was referred there by a friend, and now I always refer people there. — Eric Stevens, Stevens Diamond Jewelers, West Springfield, MA
  • Unusual products. Things I can’t find elsewhere and don’t see. — Theresa Peregoy, Classic Facets, Edgewater, CO
  • Clean, simple displays with some visible pricing signage to let me know I can make a purchase here. If a guy walks into a locally owned men’s clothing store here looking for a $500 suit, he likely will look at a few coat sleeves and see suits in the $1000s. they have a section of $500 suits, just not clearly defined. — Tom Ozment, Jr., Fincher & Ozment Jewelers, Tuscaloosa, AL
  • The things that make a store cool for me are a well curated merchandise, creative displays, and a knowledgeable, helpful staff. — Betsy Barron, Love & Luxe, San Francisco, CA
  • “Cool store” can mean one with an updated interior, friendly greeting and something unexpected, whether it’s an item for sale or how we are interacted with. I can always tell the difference when someone WANTS to be in that store versus someone who views it as a JOB. — Megan Cooper, Blue Heron Jewelry Company, Poulsbo, WA
  • Good energy, well lit, interesting merchandise, friendly people. The staff should be dressed appropriately as well, and the store should be clean. — Robin Lies, Burnell’s Creative Gold, Wichita, KS
  • It’s unique. Modern, but not trendy. Makes you feel comfortable, like you want to stay awhile. — Donald Killelea, Killelea Jewelers, Midlothian, IL
  • Warm colors, pleasant aroma, and clean. — Peter Tims, White Mountain Jewelers, Show Low, AZ
  • Design, design, design. Choice of colors, simplicity. I hate clutter. — Mark Rozanski, Goldart, Ottawa, ON
  • The vibe in the store. If I sense creativity in a welcoming environment with a dash of “outside the box,” it is cool. — Cliff Yankovich, Chimera Design, Lowell, MI

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.



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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