Professional Jeweler Archive: Visual Cues

May 2001


Visual Cues

Louis Martin Jewelers adds a dramatic visual so customers remember "that store in Rockefeller Center with the cool mural"

When Louis Martin Jewelers changed its image, the Manhattan retailer painted a picture for customers. Literally.

Workers installed a 45-ft. long mural over the jewelry counter when the store relocated within Rockefeller Center. Painted in the Art Deco style characteristic of the landmark building’s artwork, the mural dominates the store with illustrations of the steps involved in diamond production.

“In all our stores, we try to include a visual icon,” says Keith Kovar of GRID/3 International, New York City, the design firm that came up with the concept. “Customers need an image to remember because they aren’t really good with names. But they will remember the store at Rockefeller Center with the mural.”

Jewelry, Not Just Gifts

Just as important as remembering the store itself is remembering the type of store. Over the years, Louis Martin Jewelers allowed giftware to overshadow fine jewelry at its previous location two doors down. “Rockefeller Center didn’t used to be the hot retail center it is now,” says Kovar. “It got tourist traffic, so the old store aimed in that direction. But with the move in late 1999, it wanted to swing back to jewelry.”

The store beefed up its watch and fine jewelry departments and ditched giftware – except for a few steady sellers such as Lalique and wall clocks. A bench jeweler now works alongside a watchmaker on the sales floor, stressing the renewed focus on jewelry and timepieces.

Setting a Tone

The mural above the store is painted on a strip of canvas 4 feet high. It’s based on images Kovar and his partner, Ruth Mellergaard, found in books and old advertising. They turned the images over to a local art house, which produced a 4-in.-by-4-ft. prototype before the final version.

The store has two entrances – one from the street, one from the interior of the mall. The mural is oriented to the street doors, through which 65%-70% of customers arrive.

Because the entrances are on opposite corners of the store, GRID/3 placed the main selling aisle diagonally across the selling area. “In a square space, a diagonal is the longest dimension you can get,” says Kovar. “It makes the store look larger than it really is and provides maximum display case footage.”

That’s a real plus because retail space in Rockefeller Center historically rents at significantly higher rates than the surrounding neighborhood. So far, the new strategy is working, says owner Martin Mizrahi. “We’re offering more and selling more,” he says.

– by Mark E. Dixon

As customers peer into the redesigned Louis Martin Jewelers, they see the new Art Deco-inspired mural, perfect for the Rockefeller Center store’s 1930s setting.

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications