The shop has featured beloved Hudson Valley artists so far
Robert Moorman, owner of Carroll’s Jewelers in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., recently told me, “People think jewelers only compete with other jewelers—a woman is going to spend disposable money on her kitchen, bathroom, or art.”
Poughkeepsie, N.Y., jewelry store Zimmer Brothers is bringing one of those competitive categories—art—under its shingle. The 121-year-old shop is now selling fine artworks, with an emphasis on pieces from local artists, alongside its diamonds and pearls.
Jocelyn Klastow, vice president of Zimmer Brothers and a fifth-generation co-owner, says the idea for adding art to the shop’s repertoire was hatched late last year when the boutique hung works from Hudson Valley–based landscape painter Tarryl Gabel during the holidays—which sold briskly.
“It went so well, we decided to start [a program] of revolving artists for spring,” she adds. Local artists (and couple) Brown and Monique Hagood, whose paintings depict French scenes and flowers, are currently hanging on the walls. “The paintings are very vibrant; if you like Monet, you will like them,” noted Klastow.
A painting from Brown and Monique Hagood, Zimmer Brothers’ current artists (courtesy of HagoodArt).
The store hosted an artist’s reception for the Hagoods, during which Klastow says it was apparent that the pairing of art and jewelry was a natural one. “It just makes sense,” she says. “We’re a destination store 90 miles north of New York City, and there just aren’t a lot of art galleries around. So we thought, ‘We love art, why not?’ ”
The store boasts a strong estate and vintage jewelry business, and Klastow says the clientele that buys historic pieces is oftentimes also art savvy. “We have people wander it just to look at the art…and we actually have had quite a few jewelry sales just from the artists’ fans who have come in—who may never have come into the store before.”
The retailer modestly says she’s “winging it” when it comes to booking and choosing artists but says she has her eye on another local artist whose would be perfect for summer. (She hasn’t yet approached the artist.)
“I think it makes sense to look at this as a seasonal thing,” she says, “so featuring someone new four times a year.” She likens selling art to hawking giftware, in that the works are on loan, and the store splits profits with artists.
Ultimately, Klastow says the new direction is “a great talking point. And I think most jewelers need to do something to diversify. It’s something that makes us different.”