August 2014 issue, INSTORE Jewelry Magazine

Our 13th annual America’s Coolest Stores Contest drew 126 entries, making our independent judging panel’s choices tougher than ever. Check out which stores rose to the top and why. And feel free to draw inspiration for your own store — remember, it took years for these businesses to achieve “Cool” status. They paid their dues before achieving their dreams. And remember, too, that America’s Coolest Stores are cool beyond their interior design. They’re judged on individuality, marketing and how they tell their often remarkable stories. Among this year’s honorees are a few who launched their business or opened a store five years ago and showed their mettle by overcoming the obstacles of a Great Recession. We can all learn from stories like these. Happy reading! And congratulations to this year’s crop of Cool Stores!

INSTORE magazine invited Leslie McGwire™ to be one of four judges to evaluate each jewelry store. It was an honor for Leslie McGwire™, ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) Allied to be chosen to judge the latest design work of some of the industry’s coolest looking jewelry stores.

Leslie’s reviews of each of the winners as well as the link in INSTORE magazine to learn more about each winner are below:

2014 Small Cool 1: Alchemy

Location: Portland, OR
URL: alchemyjeweler.com
Founded: 1994
Opened Featured location: 2005

“The Alchemy logo says it all! The traditional style letter A mixed with the contemporary other letters is the perfect mix of the overall feeling of the entire space. The open space plan is excellent. The 15-foot ceilings give the space an open, high-end feel. The bubble wall windows are unique and placed perfectly for clients to view the work area.”
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2014 Small Cool 2: Kelly Mitchell

Location: Dallas, TX
Owners: Kelly Mitchell, Steve Dawkins
URL: kellymitchelljewelry.com
Founded: 1994
Cost of build out: $590,000
Area: 2,600 square feet (1,700 showroom, 700 office, 200 shop)

“Just amazing! The overall design style is excellent. The metal ceiling, the elegant light fixtures, the gold tones to the store are just beautiful. The mid-century modern twist design is very different compared to other jewelry stores and refreshing to the client.”
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2014 Small Cool 3: Bruno Fine Jewelers

Location: Mercer, PA
Owners: Larry Bruno
URL: brunojewelry.com
Founded: 1981
Opened Featured Location: 2009

“The architectural features of the building are warm and inviting for the clients. The use of natural materials inside and out helps with the overall environment with the warm and inviting feelings of the store. The focal points are the windows that look out to nature and the pine fireplace mantel that is 200 years old. The hand-painted mural gives the interior a unique touch of history. The lighting is bright and shows off the overall space very nice. The warm colors from the walls, to the wood on the cases, to the carpet all create a classical image.”
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2014 Small Cool 4: Gem Jewelry Boutique

Location: Oak Park, IL
URL: gemjewelryboutique.com
Founded: 2004
Opened Featured Location: 2010

“The emotions when entering Gem are an eclectic boutique feeling. The multicolored brown wood floor is beautiful with the large brick wall. The iron cases complement the other display racks in the store. The placement of the artistic iron cases makes them the focal point of the jewelry displays.”
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2014 Small Cool 5: Artful Eye Jewelry Design Center

URL: artfuleyejewelers.com
Owners: Dave and Sherrie Rabellino
Founded: 1995
Opened Featured Location: 2000
Last Renovated: 2013

 “Excellent first impression. The rustic Old West theme is innovative and one-of-a-kind.”
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