The specs 3,500 square feet of raw space in a strip mall, with a simple storefront presented Ruth Mellergaard with a blank slate.

The Client’s Challenge Kevin Seele was tired of his 28-year old store. In this new location, he wanted to win passersby as clients, despite insurers’ restrictions on window displays at night. He wanted his store to provide an international experience; he wanted to accommodate a large salt-water aquarium, a fixture popular with clients. To maximize his space, he wanted a small mezzanine, primarily for storage so that the retail and support spaces were as big as possible.

The GRID/3 solution Mellergaard created the Island of Diamonds sitting in the midst of side-by-side selling cases with 4 wood columns anchoring it. Kevin commissioned an artist to paint a mural of Ponte Vecchio, the bridge in Florence, Italy renowned for its jewelry shops, above the cash/wrap area. A wall finish redolent of Venetian plaster reinforces the Italianate image. The ceiling is integrated above the island, filled with light and large painted clouds. The window displays are on wheels and lit throughout the night illuminating merchandise. Pulling them back 18 inches meets insurers’ demands. A large flat-screen TV invites customers to relax in the front lounge; the aquarium is the center piece of the island.

Final word Kevin’s theatrical flair and his uncanny ability to stay positive communicates excitement for the jewelry. Working closely with RAD Construction, the store was up and running in four months. Attracted by the displays, passersby at night become customers by day.

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