Remembrance of Things Past
Square footage forces a venerable San Francisco jewelry store to rethink
Shreve & Co. was a fixture in downtown San Francisco, CA, well before
the neighborhood became prime real estate. But that didn't prevent the jewelry
store from falling victim to the city's outrageous rents.
Because of the healthy, competitive economic conditions in the Bay Area
right now, the cost of downtown retail space is comparable to Fifth Avenue
in New York City and Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, says Shreve & Co.
President Richard Horne. When the landlord of the building where Shreve
& Co. has resided since 1906 raised the rent last year, the company
decided to sacrifice 2,000 square feet more than a quarter of the
total store area.
Management decided total showcase footage for jewelry and watches had
to remain the same. "We had a history of silver and tabletops going
back to the early days of the century when the store was built," says
Horne. "But we had to concentrate on our main business: fine jewelry,
diamonds and watches."
A wall was built along the back of the store, eliminating the giftware
department and the watch boutique, a central pavilion built just a few years
ago to blend with the store's mahogany decor. To preserve the watches' prominence
and create an illusion of more space, the store expanded its windows along
the Grant Avenue wall from narrow shadowboxes to full display windows and
moved its watch department there for the world (or at least San Franciscans)
to see. The remodeling took three months, and Shreve plans more changes
by Jack Heeger and Stacey King
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.