Two Midwestern jewelers reminisce about their past in promotions
It's standard for jewelry stores to emphasize their long-standing community
membership to earn customers' trust, but two jewelers in the Midwest take
their keen interest in history to another level.
C.D. Peacock, Chicago, IL
To impress the new generation of elite consumers, appeal to their heritage
and ancestry. C.D. Peacock, the oldest retail store in Chicago, IL, does
this with a new ad campaign that recalls major historical figures who have
patronized the store.
A play on the tourist-fetching signs often found in old inns ("George
Washington slept here"), the ads state simply, in an old wood-cut typeface,
"Mrs. Lincoln shopped here." Victorian-style oval portraits profile
the prestigious clients, who included, besides the famous First Lady, inventors
Cyrus McCormick and George Pullman, retail giant Marshall Field and hotelier
The ads first ran in October 1998, coinciding with the opening of two
new C.D. Peacock stores in the suburbs of Chicago. The company plans to
open two new stores a year until there are at least 10 locations in the
metro area. While the retailer is becoming a chain and expanding into more
modern venues, the ads reinforce its identity as a distinguished institution
that has served the city's rich and famous since 1837.
E.W. Parker, Madison, WI
For John Parker Hendrickson Jr., history is an obsession that has won his
store publicity. The co-owner of E.W. Parker Inc., the oldest retailer in
Madison, WI, Hendrickson was an American history major at the University
of Wisconsin-Madison and is a self-proclaimed "history buff."
When the store celebrated its 140th anniversary in 1997, Hendrickson
paid tribute to his hometown by hosting the Historic Madison Photo Show,
a weekend exhibit of hundreds of antique photographs showing Madison from
the Civil War through the 20th century. It was so popular he made it an
annual exhibit and added Civil War roundtable discussions, history experts
and family photo show-and-tells to the weekend. This year's event was March
4 and 6.
The event, as well as the store's longevity, captured the attention of
Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, state senators and the Madison mayor. The
store is mentioned frequently in a chatty local newspaper column called
"The Talk." Hendrickson himself, recently elected to the board
of directors of the Dade County Historical Society, is a favorite subject
for newspaper profiles.
It's obvious Hendrickson's interests rage beyond publicity ventures.
Passionate about his own family history, he keeps in his store such heirlooms
as the fiddle his great-great-grandfather played to entertain Union troops
in the Civil War. He also collects clippings and shares stories about his
family's Revolutionary War soldiers, millionaires and a representative to
the first GOP convention. And the store, founded by Edward Worthington Parker
in 1857, still uses the Worthington family crest in its logo.
by Stacey King
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.