The 900 or so bridal brands at Michael Agnello Jewelers in St. Clair Shores, Mich., now have their very own showroom to sparkle in.
Owner Michael Agnello recently expanded the original 2,400-square-foot footprint of his store by adding on a 1,200-square-foot bridal studio that corrals diamond engagement rings from brands including Simon G, Luminar, Gabriel & Co., Valina, Caro 74, MK, Natalie K, and American Jewelry Designs in one serene, uncluttered environment.
Agnello purchased the shopping plaza where his store is located last year, giving him the option of expansion. “Everything about the new showroom is geared toward bridal,” says the 57-year-old retailer, who started his career as a salesman at the jewelry store 37 years ago and purchased it in 1996.
The idea for the showroom came to Agnello after store sales dropped by 20 percent during the recession—a fact he partially blames on the influx of jewelers entering the bridal market to stay alive.
“Suddenly, the guys who buy gold are now buying bridal,” said the straight-talking St. Clair Shores native, who rides his bike to work every morning. “Everyone went into bridal and beads. Everyone is competing in the same market. I knew it was necessary to take my business to the next level.”
The expansion cost Agnello around $50,000, but he did much of the work himself, “which was kind of stupid,” he says with a chuckle. “The time it takes compared to what you would pay someone makes it probably not worth it.”
But he’s deeply smitten with the end product. “It’s so cool and modern,” he says. “It really captivates you.”
The retailer removed the suspended ceiling, exposing the duct system, and created a contemporary floor scheme by cutting out semi-circles of the hardwood, filled in spaces with muted olive-green carpeting. Walls boast limestone columns, and the endless array of diamond rings are tucked into sleek glass cases rimmed in high-gloss black Formica. In front of every case is a low leather tufted bench that invites shoppers to settle in and get comfortable.
Photos courtesy of Michael Agnello Jewelers
Contemporary ceiling fixtures with LED bulbs hang from the ceiling, and a flat-screen TV (playing a digital aquarium, or, on occasion, the big game) hangs on the wall.
The showroom is accessible through the main store via classic French doors. “It’s a contained area and that really makes a difference,” says Agnello. “It gives you a chance to get a deposit from the customer. It has that office effect—once you close the office door, you really have them.”