Rock On!

For over 30 years Sonny’s Diamonds & Jewelry was a traditional, high-end jewelry store in an upscale retail boutique area in Denver. All that changed in October when Michael Nedler and his business partner, Mark Allen, reopened the store as Sonny’s Rocks.

The new moniker’s double-entendre signals a move to a rock ‘n’ roll persona for the store, with many dynamics of the old business model changing to capture the younger twenties and twenty-something bridal sector as well as female self-purchases with more silver and fashion jewelry offerings as the business model for the future.

The business partners purchased an old Eyeglass World store. Inside a 3,000-square-foot space the new store image is taking shape. Large, flat-screen LCD monitors will be installed throughout the store. But don’t look for store commercials or vendor videos played on a repeating loop. MTV-like rock videos and a sound system to back them up will exorcise the spirits of Muzak past in the building’s former life as an Eyeglass World store.

To bolster the rock image, Nedler’s collection of guitars from rock legends such as Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, The Eagles, Bon Jovi, and many more will be displayed throughout the store. Wii stations loaded with rock band—playing software in the store’s sitting area will also enhance this aspect of the store’s new image.

Other fun features include an updated photo booth in the store. The new version will not only produce print pictures on the spot but also digital images that can be sent electronically. "Imagine the e-mail accounts we can capture by offering this feature to customers," says Nedler.

In addition to the usual medical and dental benefits, Nedler and Allen will offer unconventional fringe benefits that are in keeping with the store’s rock image, including employees seeking to get "inked" (getting a tattoo) or a body piercing. "It’s all part of the new attitude," says Nedler.

And forget the traditional business card with the company logo and a schmaltzy tagline. New business cards will look like a rock concert ticket.

—Paul Holewa, Retail Details, Sept. 16, 2009