Meet Innovative Retailer Antoine Abeddy of Date & Time

At Antoine Abeddy’s Boston-adjacent Date & Time salon, selling is a fundamentally social experience

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“What do I have to do to get the guy off his couch and into the car to drive to see me and buy things from me?” asks ­Antoine Abeddy, co-owner of Date & Time, a fine jewelry and watch boutique located in Sudbury, Mass., a suburb of Boston. “It’s a simple question, and I need to answer it every day.” And most days, he says, the answer boils down to one thing: “Create a great shopping experience.”

Abeddy started Date & Time in 2019 with Fredrick “Freddy” Beshara (who runs the store with Abeddy) and New York City–based owners Michael Herman and Robert Ronen, founders of the Manhattan fine jewelry and lifestyle store ­Material Good. Nailing the boutique’s chic ­atmosphere and high-touch customer service remains paramount for all involved: “If we don’t provide a great experience, we’re like everyone else,” Abeddy says.

The stunning 6,000-square-foot salon, designed by Boston architecture firm Studio Troika, is full of visual and experiential delights, including a store concierge, a piano bar, distinct Rolex and bridal ­jewelry salons, and access to an on-site watchmaker certified in repairs by the Swiss American Watchmakers Training Alliance.

“There’s so much to do in the ­marketing realm with a business,” Abeddy muses. “But at the end of the day, if you don’t have that in-store wow factor, it’s not going to work.”

Date and Time interior

What’s the elevator pitch for Date & Time?
I was friends with Michael and Robert before, and loved what they did with Material Good. We thought there was a good opportunity to open a store like that in this area.
I think it’s an underserved region when it comes to timepieces and jewelry. We conceptualized the store as a place to sell jewelry, timepieces, and also art in an environment that was unique.

You’ve said the store’s customer service hinges on pairing clients with the right salespeople. How do you do this?
Freddy and I are on-site all the time. We know our staff and we talk to every client who walks in. If I feel I’m busy, I know who to pair a customer with. Also, we pay attention to very small details, from gift-wrapping to what the customer is drinking.

Listen, I go out of my way to go to Ikea and spend three hours buying things I don’t need. Why do I do this? It’s the experience that I like. And we try to create experiences. After we opened, we had a five-course Italian dinner at the store with 40 clients that featured a pianist and a cocktail event at the beginning. We had jewelry that matched with each course and wine. It was a blast. At midnight, I was kicking people out.

Antoine Abeddy and customerWhat’s the Date & Time shopping experience like?
When we designed our cases, we designed them so we are on the same side of the case as the clients; there’s no over-the-case salesmanship. We all walk around the store together. When people are ready, we sit them down, they have a glass of Champagne or scotch, we bring jewelry out, and we socialize.

We mix up brands that people know with brands people don’t know; we’re trying to expose them to new things and new brands. We’ve introduced several brands to the area, including Messika and Pomellato. These are brands our clients previously had to go to New York or Europe to get.

How does the store’s layout facilitate a unique retail experience?
We set up the store with different areas. We can have six different groups shopping that are isolated from one another. It provides some privacy, and you never feel like someone’s looking over your shoulder. People are relaxed. They’re not being pushed or rushed. We don’t ask for the sale. We don’t sell prices—we sell jewelry pieces.