Pierini Designer Jewelry has come a long way since its humble origins on East Speedway Avenue near the University of Arizona in Tucson, and in the Palomino Plaza at Swan and Fort Lowell, both sites where the business sold upscale costume jewelry. Today, parents Rick and Stephanie Pierini, son Alex, bench jeweler and designer, and daughter Christi, store manager, enjoy new digs at the La Encantada shopping center on Skyline Drive and Campbell Avenue.
The move places the 35-year-old business in a tony shopping center with brands like Cole Haan and Louis Vuitton, thanks to a deal struck with nationwide developer Macerich Westcor. The move, according to Christi, was a welcome change. "Most of our clientele live [near the Foothills]," she says. Adds Rick, "We were in a location that was on a downswing, with a lack of marketing and general maintenance, and that always reflects on your reputation. Now as the economy improves, the store is positioned to improve with it."
And just like the location, the look of the interior is equally fresh. Wood floors, contemporary glass and metal surfaces, and a curved reception counter hides point-of-sale equipment and doubles as a bar complete with lucite stools. Plus, none of the display cases have salespeople stationed behind them (sales persons interact with customers next to displays), yet another measures that helps eliminate the pretentiousness that is commonly associated with jewelry stores.
"We want our store to feel approachable and comfortable-as if someone were in a living room," says Rick.
Interestingly, the new store is 300 square feet smaller than the old one, but the new retail sales space is 500 square feet larger.
The new store also echoes the Pierini’s design mantra of manufacturing nearly everything they sell. A case in point: metal work and motifs like triangles line the walls and are also evident on jewelry in cases. "We design and make all the jewelry (including woven necklaces and custom gold pieces designed in CAD) ourselves, as well as doing repairs," says Christi. Just a few outside brands, such as Boccia Titanium watches, augment Pierini stock.
"Many jewelers sell either silver or gold, but we’ve always co-mingled product," says Rick.
Several hundred guests attended the grand opening weekend celebration, which received abundant press coverage in several local newspapers. Many turned out to support the Pierini family, and to admire the new space. "Part of the fun of shopping is going somewhere that’s hip," adds Rick.