History Repeats

April 1999


History Repeats

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 Potter Palmer.

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.


HomeAsk the ExpertBrainstormStatsSite of the WeekConsumer Press Scan
Your Business On-LineCalendarMagazine & Site ArchivesStaffSite Map
Professional Jeweler EventsGuide to Electronic Services
Classified On-LineJA Certification Study Session

Home Ask the Expert Brainstorm Stats Site of the Week Consumer Press Scan Your Business On-Line Calendar Staff Site Map