Retailer News

Tiffany & Co., one of the world’s leading luxury jewelers, will build a $10 million, 100,000-sq.-ft. jewelry manufacturing facility in Cumberland, R.I. The new plant will primarily produce silver jewelry but also make some gold and platinum jewelry. It will open in spring 2001 and employ about 450 people. A “pilot plant” that employs about 60 people, which Tiffany has operated since 1998 in nearby Warwick, R.I., will close when the new plant opens.

CALIF. CHAIN PLANS EXPANSION

Michael’s Jewelers of Culver City, Calif., an eight-store chain, plans to expand outside California and to launch an e-commerce business. It will do so with a new $3 million line of credit from Paragon Capital of Needham, Mass. Paragon is an asset-based lender to retailers throughout the United States.

Michael’s is co-owned and operated by Michael and John Sarian, who founded the firm with their father in 1983. It sells a wide range of gold, precious and semiprecious jewelry, diamonds, engagement and bridal rings, watches, and clocks. It also offers custom work and repair service at all its stores.

With the financing, Michael’s plans to expand the firm into Arizona and Nevada as well as grow through the purchase of other jewelry stores in Orange and San Diego counties. It will also sell its merchandise on the Internet.—William George Shuster

CARTIER REVAMPS STORES AND ADS

The Cartier image is getting a facelift, in both its advertising and its stores.

The new ad concept, launched internationally last September, features dozens of diverse images by four photographers known for their distinctive and creative work. The ads highlight the wide spectrum of Cartier design and by implication the variety of Cartier customers. Bold photographs of high-end jewelry, for example, are designed to appeal to more traditional clients, while unexpected ones—such as two gemstone turtles crawling through sand or a Cartier Tank watch making tracks—should intrigue and delight younger customers and those who enjoy originality and imagination.

The ads are appearing in upscale fashion, lifestyle, shelter, and general-interest magazines.

Meanwhile, Cartier’s new boutique design was introduced late last year with its new stores in Phoenix, Ariz., and Short Hills, N.J. The new look was originally unveiled in Paris and Tokyo. All of Cartier’s 198 stores around the world (including 26 in the United States) will get the new look over the next five years. Key elements include a more spacious interior; large bay windows; more natural materials (such as stone floors, grooved and bleached oak wood inside, and an unfinished slate façade with the silver Cartier logo carved into it); and subdued color tones inside (such as nickel finishes and carpet “with a hint of claret”).— William George Shuster

DESIGNER OPENS DENVER GALLERY

Designer Richard H. Kimball has opened a store and gallery in Denver. The store will showcase Kimball’s one-of-a-kind jewelry creations in 18k gold and platinum as well as his sterling hollowware. He will also feature jewelry from other select designers.

The store hosted a benefit opening in December in conjunction with the University of Denver’s art and art history department.

The store is located at 270 St. Paul Street, Cherry Creek North in Denver.

FLORIDA JEWELER BUILDS NEW STORE

Congress Jewelers of Southwest Florida recently broke ground for a new store in Bonita Springs, Fla. The store is expected to be completed in late spring.

This will be the second location for the family-owned and -operated retail jeweler, whose roots date back to the 1930s in the Midwest. Congress Jewelers currently is located in Sanibel Island, Fla.

The new store will be a 10,000-sq.-ft. facility within The Prado at Spring Creek. The lower level will display high-fashion timepieces and jewelry by exclusive designers. The second level will be for office administration and personnel training.

The stone-and-marble store will feature an upscale nautical motif. It will include a relaxation lounge with an entertainment center for waiting customers as well as two private selling rooms with sofas.

The company specializes in sealife jewelry and jewelry made from Spanish treasure coins recovered from sunken ships. It also has a studio to restyle customers’ jewelry.