Every year, owners of jewelry stores around the country endure a daunting task when they pack up and move their wares into a new location. As landlords change, demographics shift, or business priorities evolve, retailers relocate their stores to better position their operations for future success.
JCK spoke to five retailers who have recently moved their businesses, exploring the factors that prompted their change of address and soliciting suggestions for how other store owners can put together a successful relocation plan.
Designer’s Touch Jewelry
In March, this third-generation jewelry retailer ditched its longtime Wellington home, where neighbors had transitioned over the years from vibrant restaurants and salons to utilitarian medical offices. Relocating a few miles down the road, Designer’s Touch took up residence in a newly constructed shopping plaza anchored by a Trader Joe’s and drive-thru Starbucks. The move also allowed Designer’s Touch to create a more contemporary interior, including a cozy customer lounge area.
The motivating factor: location, location, location, according to co-owner Adam Yorke. “One of the big things in my mind was making sure the location was an active one with shops that related to the quality of our shop. We weren’t interested in running to just any new place because it might have been larger or offered a better rent.”
A moving tip: Plan ahead. From interior paint colors and setting up utilities to installing security and communicating the move to customers, Yorke says an assortment of easy-to-overlook details must be addressed and organized before a move. “The more you figure out early, the easier your life will be as the move date comes closer.”
Gem Jewelry Boutique
Oak Park, Ill.
In 2015, Gem owner Laura Kitsos moved for a second time in five years, settling into a historic storefront in Oak Park, an artsy suburb on Chicago’s western edge. Kitsos calls her current home—which features custom cases, illumination by a professional lighting designer, and windows featuring the Gem name in 24k gold gilt—a more intimate environment that jibes well with the indie boutiques lining local streets.
The motivating factor: “The prior space was beautiful, but way too large for us,” Kitsos says, admitting that she hurried into her first Oak Park space after getting pushed out of Gem’s former location in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood.
A moving tip: Don’t fear the unknown. “[Moving] shakes things up and gives you the chance to do something new and different than before,” Kitsos says. “You create excitement and will always find new customers when you move a shop or change the dynamics of your current shop.”
Ephraim Doumato Jewelers
Last November, Ephraim Doumato Jewelers traded its 1,500-square-foot home of nearly 40 years for a 4,000-square-foot space located a half-mile away. Once a popular Chinese restaurant, the retailer’s new store features added parking, a wider selection of inventory, a customer lounge with televisions, a “diamond bar” where clients can shop for engagement rings or remounts while enjoying a complimentary drink from the full-service bar, and a diamond-viewing room for buyers seeking privacy.
The motivating factor: “The opportunity to grow our business in a larger, more visible location that we owned was our goal for a long time,” says Matt Doumato, whose father, Ephraim, founded the business in 1980.
A moving tip: Don’t settle. “Because this is a huge undertaking, make sure there are significant benefits to the new location over the old, such as space potential, greater visibility, or filling a void in the market,” Doumato says. He also urges retailers to hold a moving sale, which can inject capital into the business and create awareness for its move, something Doumato Jewelers cleverly did by distributing fortune cookies noting the retail store’s new address.
Fort Gratiot Township, Mich.
After inhabiting a 1,500-square-foot space in Fort Gratiot’s Birchwood Mall for the last 22 years, Lawrence Jewelers settled into its new freestanding building in March. Located about a quarter-mile away from its mall location, one that had seen key anchor tenants vanish in recent years, the 44-year-old retailer’s new 6,000-square-foot home includes new brands and more contemporary inventory, two waterfall features, a luxurious customer lounge, a full refreshment bar, a private diamond-viewing area, and a custom CAD area.
The motivating factor: Declining mall traffic, hefty real estate costs, and the opportunity to be in a high-traffic area were all considerations. “We did it for the convenience of our guests and to be constantly visible to passersby,” co-owner Jon Askew says.
A moving tip: Leverage credible help. “We did a retirement sale during the relocation and hired an outside company to help bring in additional merchandise and take care of the marketing focus,” Askew says. Assigning one staff member to oversee the move, including planning for delays and creating contingency plans, also helped ease the store’s relocation effort.
Lori McLean Fine Jewelry
New York City
Designer Lori McLean moved her namesake jewelry store from Manhattan’s West Village to the adjacent East Village neighborhood in 2014, settling into a cozy, more cost-effective space rich in natural light, storage space, and elbow room that has allowed McLean to better craft and showcase her own jewelry line and custom work.
The motivating factor: Simply put, McLean’s 10-year lease ended, and the West Village’s soaring rents rose far beyond her comfort level. Though initially bummed to leave her home of a decade, a classic New York building with tall, tin ceilings and a stately wooden door, McLean now considers her shift 1 mile to the east “a great change” for her now–15-year-old retail business.
A moving tip: Maintain perspective and control what you can. “I used to really worry about what would happen when my lease ended, and then it did and almost everything improved. Now I try not to worry about how little control I have over the big sweeping changes,” says McLean, acknowledging that she may be on the move again next year when her current lease expires. “Who knows?”
Long Sabre with blue sapphire baguettes and diamonds in 18k yellow gold; $5,447; Robinson Pelham; email@example.com; robinsonpelham.com