Professional Jeweler Archive: A Store with Two Fronts

August 2004

Image/Store Design

A Store with Two Fronts

Divas aren't the only ones who like entrances. Leon Benari Diamonds created two – front and back!

It’s like a fantasy come true. What if you could create two great spots for customers to approach your store and enter – two dramatic, welcoming beacons to reinforce your name?

That’s exactly what Jacob Benari of Leon Benari Diamonds devised, with the help of the design team at GRID3/International, New York City. When Benari leased a space in a new town center mall in Exton, PA, he wanted to make sure customers could approach not only from the main street but also from the back, where the parking lot sits. This would accommodate old-fashioned walkers as well as suburban drive-everywhere types. Front and back are equally inviting thanks to tiled vestibules that open onto the carpet-tiled interior.

The unusual layout created a dilemma – where would Benari put all the back-room areas, including the manager’s office, staff room, washrooms and bench area? GRID3 Designer Keith Kovar solved the problem by arranging these areas along the sides of the store, hidden behind curved walls. The showroom spaces created by the curves are intimate nooks for special areas such as a bridal-oriented sit-down diamond center and a children’s play spot with handmade chairs and tables for games and coloring. Undulating showcases flow with the walls. Islands in the middle of the store feature more products.

Leon Benari Diamonds features earthtone paint on the walls, ceiling and floor – gold and yellow to umber – as well as blond maple and dark cherry fixtures and showcases to contribute lightness and character. Curved light coves make the ceiling appear to float. Two-by-two ceiling tiles, chosen for their acoustic quality, offset the hard surface of drywall, which can contribute to noise because of its inability to absorb sound.

Do the store’s new layout and two entrances work? Business has doubled since Benari moved to this new location from a store in Media, PA.

The parking lot entrance to Leon Benari Diamonds. The owner wanted to be sure this entrance didn’t look like a back door, so it was designed to be as open, dramatic and welcoming as the entrance located on the main street.
Intimate nooks, such as this Diamond Center, are possible because of the store’s curved walls.
Where to put the “back rooms” in a store with main entrances at front and back? Undulating walls along the sides of the store provide the hidden space.

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications