Schmitt Jewelers, a family-run fine jewelry business based in Phoenix, was crowned the 2014 JCK LUXURY Retailer of the Year Thursday morning at the event’s annual Retailer Breakfast at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino.
This year’s finalists for the award were chosen for their innovative approach to selling jewelry, with an emphasis on retailers who are successfully bridging the gap between fashion and fine jewelry.
More than 50 stores submitted themselves for consideration, but the five finalists in the competition truly embodied this year’s designated theme, “Redefining Fine Jewelry Through Innovation.” Runners-up for the prize were Deville Fine Jewelry in Houston; Harold Stevens Diamond and Jewelry Studio in San Diego; Nettles Fine Jewelry in St. Augustine, Fla.; and Occasions Fine Jewelry in Midland, Texas.
“The number of applications for consideration of Retailer of the Year were tremendous,” said John Tierney, industry vice president for LUXURY Events. “It gave us an amazing, in-depth look at how extraordinary a job retailers across the country are doing to create the best experience for their consumers.”
JCK industry vice president John Tierney (far l.) and industry consultant Diane Warga-Arias (far r.) congratulate winning retailers Ginnie, Tim, Erin, and Tom Schmitt of Schmitt Jewelers.
Brothers Tom and Tim Schmitt, co-owners of Schmitt Jewelers (with wives Erin and Ginnie), earned collegial hugs and pats on the back from the other finalists when they were announced as winners. Their acceptance speech was short and sweet: “Thanks to our kids who run our social media and our wives,” said Tom. “And thanks to everyone who voted and everyone who supports us on an everyday basis.”
The 44-year-old company, which specializes in custom design, has two locations in the Phoenix area—both boasting a tech-augmented shopping environment featuring display screens and software that allow clients to participate in the design process. The store layout for both locations includes floor-to-ceiling windows looking into the shop workroom, where artisans marry hand-fabrication methods with 3-D printing.
The retailer also offers clients an online tracking system that allows them to follow the progress of their custom piece through the fabrication process. A store motto: “The ultimate luxury is custom jewelry.”
“This is very exciting,” said Tom as he and Tim exited the LUXURY stage, award in hand. “It was a great bunch of stores that we were with in the finalists.”
The brothers entered the business, which their parents founded in 1970, in the mid-1980s. As early adopters of CAD/CAM technology in the late 1990s, they established innovation as a core company value early on.