Zalemark is backing a new venture that aims to turn Folsom, Calif.–based Windsor Diamonds into a 50-store chain within five years.
The envisioned new chain will comprise Windsor Diamonds stores as well as Windsor Diamonds Outlets, with a focus on the outlets, says Steven Zale, chairman emeritus and founder of Zalemark Holding Co., a publicly held Los Angeles–based jewelry company.
The first new stores will spring up near the 11-year-old Windsor store in Folsom. From there the chain should expand throughout Northern and Southern California, Zale says. Other markets being eyed are Arizona, Utah, and Nevada.
The immediate aim is to have clusters of five stores in 10 markets. Establishing the clusters will let the company split marketing costs locally, explains Zale.
Windsor Diamonds CEO Joe Purnell is heading the new company, which hopes to have five new stores by the end of this year and five to 10 more by the end of next. The stores will all have a bridal focus and target upscale consumers, he says.
The company is also seeking local partners who will manage the stores in the area and receive a percentage of sales.
“If we hire a manager for an area who is very skilled and knows that demographic, we will give them a piece of the action,” Zale says. “So we will be able to keep them, and they will have skin in the game.”
As to what will set the new chain apart, Purnell says that the chain wants smaller-square-footage stores that will “be aggressive on pricing and aggressive on marketing.”
The chain is also working on a major “celebrity endorsement,” Zale says.
“She is such a high-profile celebrity, that we are going to bring her to some of these smaller communities, and it will cause a lot of excitement,” he adds.
Purnell tells JCK the venture is open to acquiring stores and may team up with vendors to set up joint manufacturing operations.
Part of the impetus for the new chain is the ongoing consolidation in the industry, such as recent purchases by Signet Jewelers.
“We believe that, with Signet dominating the industry, it will want to dictate to people,” he says. “So we believe there will be quite a few vendors that will be interested in doing business with us.”