Professional Jeweler Archive: Store Redesign Pays

April 2001

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Store Redesign Pays

Whether your budget is big or small, investing in your storešs look is money in the bank


Store designs yield promising sales results when executed thoughtfully, says Ruth Mellergaard of GRID/3 International Inc., a jewelry store design consultant in New York City. Mellergaard discussed the topic during a seminar at The Professional Jeweler Show & Conference in Las Vegas this past fall. The conference was organized by Charlotte Preston Catalysts, White Bear Lake, MN. In her seminar, Mellergaard cited three examples:

  • At Kevin Kleiner and Ken Donderos’ jewelry store in New Jersey, business was flat, the staff wasn’t performing up to potential and the repair business was run inefficiently. After hiring a management consultant to work with them on staffing issues, salaries, work organization and evaluation of merchandise, the jewelers were told a lack of space to present merchandise effectively was deterring business too. The result: A new showroom and showcases, new lighting and new finishes. After the project, annual sales rose from $1.8 million to $2.4 million.
    u Jesus Carranza, a jeweler in Mexico, wanted a better-looking store. He thought he was losing sales opportunities because the building looked old-fashioned and the displays made the merchandise look less valuable than it was. The solution: He renovated the enclosed shopping-center location with a new front, fixtures, displays and lighting. Carranza raised the quality of the merchandise and enhanced the presentation of his designer lines. The result: He attracted a better clientele and enjoyed a 100% increase in sales.
  • Bill Selig’s landlord was renovating the Connecticut strip shopping center where his store is located, removing the front and moving stores forward to eliminate an interior mall. Selig secured a spot in the shopping center that doubled the size of his store and give him better visibility, so appearance and function became more of a design concern. He negotiated financial help from his landlord, who helped pay for the planning, fixturing, lighting, color and materials. The new store improved traffic flow and allowed better display. Annual sales shot from $500,000 to $1 million.

Talking Money

Each of these jewelers invested major money to increase sales, but you can do a lot with a limited budget. Mellergaard chose three budgets, then targeted design projects that can make a difference.

With a $15,000 budget, for example, you can accomplish the following:

  • Update colors for a relaxing, refreshing atmosphere. First, decide what atmosphere you want and choose colors accordingly. Blue supports tranquility and peace. Green refreshes while lending a sense of balance. Warm colors excite, stimulate and dramatize. Red is forceful, arousing and a good accent color. Orange is informal, welcoming and cheerful. Yellow stimulates the brain, helps people organize new ideas and creates a good mood. Natural hues partner well with cool or warm colors. Brown creates a sense of comfort. Beige is stabilizing. Gray is neutral. White is Zen-like in its purity. Black is elegant and conveys weight and power.
  • Upgrade your infrastructure. Replace your HVAC system with a newer, bigger unit. Upgrading your electrical service is a long-term benefit and allows for better lighting.
  • Rework displays to make old merchandise look new. Have a jewelry garage sale to finance new displays. Jewelry in the safe can be melted and remade. Rules of thumb for display: Use odd numbers, different heights, information cards and props.

Up the Scale

If you have a $30,000 budget, you may want to add lighting to the list above.

  • Replace ballasts in fluorescent light fixtures; electronic ballasts are more energy-efficient than magnetic. Tungsten halogen technology developed for MR 16 lamps provides energy efficiency, replacement ease, white light and different beam spreads. Metal halide lamps provide high wattage and bright lighting, but the color changes from white to blue, purple or green. Phillips, in its MasterColor series, solved this color shift problem. Fluorescent lighting has improved and is available in down-lights with better color temperature, better energy efficiency and longer life.

Higher Still

If your budget can go up to $60,000, new or revamped cases are an option:

  • Refinishing costs half has much as new cases. If you refinish, consider changing lighting, glass, locks and display elements.
  • If you’re going to build new ones, do you want single or double-tier cases, sit-down cases or museum cases? Will wall cases or walk-up wall cases provide you with what you need?
  • For cases, do you want tungsten halogen, fluorescent, front, back, front and back or no lighting?
  • How many drawers do you want, and how many slots for items such as pads or calculators?

– by Lorraine M. O’Donnell


Good props that freshen your window or showcase don’t have to be expensive. Here, Fortunoff uses a simple Chinese food container with a pointed fortune as a winning prop for its holiday circular.

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications