After 81 years, a New York City jewelry fixture goes all digital
Michael C. Fina, an 81-year-old New York City jewelry institution that has served royalty and presidents, is closing its store and will exist solely online.
The company’s 500 Park Ave. location will turn out the lights on April 16, says Steven Fina, president and chief merchant.
With 85 percent of the store’s sales now coming through the web, the move was only logical, he says.
“Operating in New York City is expensive,” he says. “When you look at the numbers and the business and how it’s changed—whether it’s the number of people walking through the door or the business that is coming through the web—we have to, as a prudent and responsible business, focus our energy and resources on the part of the business that is its future.
“We have always prided ourselves on evolving with our customers,” he continues. “My grandparents, my father, my uncle, we have always committed ourselves to doing what is best and right for our customer. We need to put the resources into what the customer wants.”
The company is now hosting its bridal registry in conjunction with Zola.com. When Amazon relaunches its wedding registry, Michael C. Fina will be one of three wedding boutiques. Amazon is also handling the brand’s fulfillment.
So far, none of the store’s brands plan to jump ship, Fina says. He stresses the company wants to stick around for the long haul.
“Michael C. Fina is going nowhere,” he says. “We continue to invest in the business. We are building a new website, and we are investing a significant amount to ensure that this business will continue forever. We have a lot of big things coming up.
“Operating an e-commerce business is a different animal than operating a store, but it is no less daunting,” Fina adds. “We will continue to do the things that we are known for: Providing the best product, finding things we believe that our customers want, and doing customer service. All the photography and marketing for the site are done by us.”
Even so, saying good-bye to a physical store was bittersweet, he admits.
“We know this is the right move, and we know this is where the world is going,” he says. “But it’s part of our identity, part of our DNA, to have a store. The most difficult part was [parting with] the people who worked with us day in, day out, who have in some cases been with us for decades.”
Over the years, the store has catered to big-name clients including Lyndon Baines Johnson, Frank Sinatra, the Saudi Arabian royal family, and Chelsea Clinton. Fina believes that, even without the physical location, customers will still respond to the brand’s name and reputation.
“I was at a Florida airport recently, and I gave the TSA agent my license and he said, ‘Fina, like the jewelry company? You guys are famous.’ No one is handing him a license that says Blue Nile on it. Our name stands for quality and trust and service. Customers know we will stand behind our product, no matter what.”