The executive chairman of Spence Diamonds, a 10-store chain with seven stores in Canada and three in the United States, spoke with JCK about his company’s expansion and why its stores are adopting an Apple-like approach to sales.
Spence will open two new stores this year in the Dallas–Fort Worth area and another new store in Canada. How many stores do you foresee?
Our longer-term strategic plan calls for, by 2021, from 28 to 40 stores. [That’s about] five to 10 stores a year. We would like to open 10 [a year], but we want to open them in the right way. We are looking at major metropolitan areas where we think there will be demand for our Artisan Created Diamonds.
What makes your new “next generation” stores different?
They have what I would call a non-adversarial physical configuration. When you set up counters, it has someone in an authoritative position. What we have done is more like Apple, where it’s impossible for someone to stand behind a counter.
Have lab-grown diamonds become central to your business?
Our concept isn’t that we love lab diamonds or mined diamonds. We don’t push anything. We take consumers through a deep education process. Our process is to show the options and let the consumer decide. We are not quite ready to give a specific number, but the industry would be absolutely shocked when they see, with actual consumer choice, what the level of adoption [of lab-grown diamonds] is.
Top: Spence Diamonds in Scottsdale, Ariz.