HOW MUCH IS THAT JEWELER IN THE WINDOW?
If you've got bench jewelers, flaunt 'em,
says store remodeler
It's now quite the thing for retail jewelers with on-site craftspeople
to "make a big deal about it" by putting them on display behind
a window in the store, says Ruth Mellergaard, president of the New York
City store-design firm Grid 3 International Inc.
Under Mellergaard's supervision, Austin Maxwell, a store in Millburn,
NJ, has done just that. The store, which opened in September, is the second
one for owners Michael and Suzy Gengos. Their first, Kay-Finlay, is in Jersey
Michael Gengos wants to project a different feeling with the new store,
located in a former art gallery. He aims for a mixture of casual Soho artiness
and Madison Avenue class, a far cry from the traditional credit-jeweler
atmosphere at the Jersey City store.
The jeweler-in-the-window concept helps him to win his customers' trust
and convinces them the store is an important source for exclusive and prestigious
products, he says. First, it shows he has nothing to hide. "People
get uncomfortable when a jeweler takes their ring and disappears into a
back room," he says. Second, the window, 5 feet high and 10 feet long,
lets customers see that the store makes much of its own jewelry (it also
sells narrowly distributed designer lines such as Versace). This further
enhances the store's credibility with customers, Gengos says.
In front of the window is a 16-ft.-long coffee bar. There, customers
sit, watch the bench jeweler, talk and drink espresso. It has turned his
store into a nesting place, offering comfort to shopping-worn men escorting
their wives or girlfriends. "Men who have never spent 10 minutes in
a jewelry store now hang out for an hour at a time," he says.
Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.