Five-year-old Lily & Co. is about to open its second location in Fort Myers, Fla., just 20 miles down the road from its existing store in Sanibel.
On Sept. 1, store owners Karen Bell and Dan Schuyler will open the doors of a new shop, which will have the same name and signage as “Lily 1,” Schuyler tells JCK. Located in the space of what was once Christine’s Jewelry by Design—whose owner bowed out of the 10-year-old business to be a stay-at-home mom—Lily & Co. in Fort Myers will feature the same design sensibility (flowers, wind chimes, and Sage candles), merchandise assortments (Gurhan and John Bagley jewelry), and fun events—think Easter Egg hunt for adults—as the original location.
“We’re not your traditional jeweler,” says Schuyler. “We like to have fun with the neighborhood and do a lot of cross promoting with surrounding businesses. And because we think this is the reason why we’ve been so successful in Sanibel, our new store won’t differ much at all.”
When approached about the takeover by the former owner three months ago, Bell and Schuyler debated whether or not they should “throw a log on the fire in this economy,” says Schuyler. But after some careful consideration and input from industry friends, the partners decided to go for it. “The good outweighed the bad,” he says. The 1,700-square-foot shop was already beautifully appointed with bamboo wood floors and a glass-enclosed design center with three jewelers’ benches, and had great neighbors. Located in a Mediterranean-style shopping center with a focal-point fountain in the center, the center includes a high-end men’s store, hair salon, bakery, and a Benihana restaurant. Nearby competition from Jared The Galleria of Jewelry and a Dunkin’s Diamonds, meanwhile, didn’t deter the owners. “Lily & Co. is a true jewelry gallery with wearable, wall, and table art,” explains Schuyler. Plus, the new shop is located close enough to the original that it will benefit from the same advertising campaigns.
The previous owner specialized in custom design, but Lily & Co. will add services like pearl restringing, appraisals, gold buying, and pewter and stemware repair to the mix. Bell and Schuyler, who work in the original store every day, will take turns overseeing the new location. Additionally, the duo hired Leah Manziano, formerly of Tiffany & Co., Congress Jewelers, and Saks Fifth Avenue, to manage the new site. And those who know Lily & Co. well may be wondering where three other, four-legged ‘employees’ will end up: Lily the Labradoodle (a favorite fixture in all store ads) owned by Bell, and Gracie and Angel, red Labrador retrievers owned by Schuyler, will still be gainfully employed and will take turns overseeing—with their owners—both shops.
“With dogs greeting you at the front door, our stores are like walking into somebody’s home,” he explains. “Management told us, ‘We know you’re a little different, so we took ‘No dogs’ out of your contract’,” notes Schuyler.
“We’re excited because not too many people are opening up stores, and we’re honored and privileged to have had such a spectacular year and vendor support that we can move forward with this new store. We also can’t thank the former owner enough for letting us take over the business.”
While doors open tomorrow, a soft launch won’t take place until Oct. 1, after the sign is posted on the storefront. An official grand opening party will take place during the weekend after Thanksgiving—“when the snow birds start to head south,” says Schuyler.